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In this post, my office will provide quick tips for Estate Planning tools that can be executed immediately during an epidemic, this is crucial to making sure clients and loved ones are taken care of properly.
My office has seen a significant increase in Estate Planning inquiries during the COVID- 19 (aka Corona Virus) outbreak. When clients see on the news that so many people are passing away it causes concerns for our community, especially having a predicted “cluster” of outbreaks in Portage County.
The most common complains that clients explain to us is that they keep “putting it off” or they had a love one pass away without any estate planning so they had to endure the Probate Court process. In the more recent months, our office has had a dramatic increase in questions about what clients can do now to help prepare them or their loved ones for the inevitable.
Estate Planning can be a very complex process and we always want to make sure that we can meet our clients’ wishes and goals.
Our office tips for our clients concerns would entail that clients have at least a Last Will and Testament (Will); Power of Attorney for Health Care with an attached Living Will, and Power of Attorney for Finances.
Both the Health Care Power of Attorney and Financial Power of Attorney documents are what my office refers them as “living documents” which means take affect the day that they are signed, unless the client directs otherwise. The agent that the client names can help manage their health and financial affairs right away no court approval required.
Furthermore, both Powers of Attorneys executed at my office have the option to nominate a guardian on your behalf should you need one. This option also helps your loved ones navigate the Probate Process if a Probate Court needs to appoint a Guardian.
The Living Will, executed at my office, is attached to clients Health Care Power of Attorney. This document directs their agent whether they want life- prolonged treatment when they are in a terminal state and provides loved ones contact information should they need to be contacted.
You Will is always a great tool to execute right away. The benefit to having a Will helps your loved ones navigate the Probate process faster and more efficient. This document helps ensure that the estate will be distributed according to the decedent’s wishes, and helps to make sure that any valued property will continue to protect their loved ones.
If a client does not execute a Will, the Probate Court has to appoint an executor which is timely and costly. If your Will appoints an executor, the Probate Court can move the case along more efficiently.
After executing the basics, we always advise our clients to review all their beneficiary designations on all their assets, such as bank accounts, life insurance policies etc. and to make sure they are up to date. If there are issues with beneficiary designations, then your estate might have to be filed with the Probate Court.
Estate Planning can be a very complex process. There are any other tools and documents that can be completed by a client to help ensure they and their loved ones are protected.
But, during an epidemic, the quick and easy Power of Attorney Documents and Last Will and Testament can be drafted and implement right away.