From stay-at-home orders to social distancing, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a serious impact on everyone’s lives. These uncertain times have moved many people to think about their mortality and the legacy they want to leave behind. If you need to create or update your estate plan, an attorney who handles wills, trusts, and other vital documents can help you prepare for the future and put your mind at ease.
Why Do I Need An Estate Plan?
Even if you do not have a particularly large estate, planning for what may come is vital. An estate plan involves so much more than just a will. Without powers of attorney or an advance directive (living will), if you should become incapacitated, health care and financial decisions may be left up to someone you do not trust or even know. These documents help to ensure your health, well-being and finances are protected if you cannot speak for yourself. In addition, having a will and other estate planning measures in place at the time of your death can help your family save time, money, and avoid additional emotional upheaval during an already challenging period.
Update or Create Your Estate Plan
Whether you already have an estate plan and need to update it, or you need to create a new one, it is especially important not to put it off during these unpredictable times. There are several documents that are crucial elements of any estate plan, including:
Last Will and Testament – A will enables you to specify how you would like your assets to be distributed after your death. You may also name guardians for minor children and appoint an executor who will handle the distribution of your assets. Without a will, the distribution of your assets will be handled by the probate court, which can be an expensive, time-consuming process fraught with conflict. If you know how you want your estate to be distributed to your beneficiaries, making a will can ensure it happens according to your wishes.
Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care – This document enables you to designate someone you trust to make health care decisions for you should you become incapacitated. Having a lawyer help you create this document can ensure that proper requirements and language are used so your agent has the legal authority to carry out your wishes.
Living Will (Advance Directive) – Life-sustaining medical decisions can be excruciating for loved ones to make, especially if they are unaware of what you would have wanted. A living will allows you to state your wishes and name a surrogate decision-maker regarding the refusal or approval of certain life-sustaining treatments if you incapable of making those decisions for yourself.
Power of Attorney for Finances – Naming someone to take care of your financial affairs when you are unable to do so can protect your assets, property and your family. A power of attorney for finances gives your agent the ability to pay bills, make deposits, write checks, sell or buy assets, and file tax returns on your behalf.
The experienced team at Carosella & Associates is dedicated to serving clients’ legal needs during these unpredictable times. We can help you create a comprehensive, personalized estate plan that meets your needs and safeguards your future.