Taking Back Control of Your Future:
Estate Planning and COVID-19
May, 20, 2020
Estate planning isn’t always at the top of most people’s priority lists, but now that “pandemic” has become a household word, many people are reconsidering the importance of estate planning. The COVID-19 pandemic and corresponding business closures have caused a great deal of uncertainty, and many feel that their lives and futures are out of their control. But there are some things you can control. Specifically, by implementing a thorough estate plan, you can take back control of your future and ensure you and your family are protected.
What estate planning documents should I be considering?
Advance Healthcare Directives — “Advance healthcare directives,” as the name implies, is the title given to documents that memorialize your wishes with respect to your healthcare if you become incapacitated in the future and cannot make healthcare decisions for yourself anymore. Two documents are particularly important — a Healthcare Power of Attorney, or “HCPOA,” and a Living Will.
By signing a HCPOA, you designate specific individuals whom you trust to make healthcare decisions for you if you become unable to do so in the future. And a Living Will allows you to memorialize your wishes with respect to end-of-life decisions. Together, these documents allow you to make important decisions ahead of time regarding your medical care.
Financial Durable Power of Attorney — A financial durable power of attorney (or “Financial POA”) allows you name an individual to manage your financial affairs for you if you become incapacitated. As with Advance Healthcare Directives, it is important to name someone you know and trust to act in your best interests.
Wills or Trusts — While Advance Healthcare Directives and a Financial POA are designed to ensure you are well taken care of during your lifetime, a Will and/or Trust memorializes your wishes for how your assets will be handled upon your death. Without a Will or Trust, the loved ones you want to inherit your assets may not end up benefiting from your estate.
Beneficiary Designations and Asset Titling — Many assets, such as retirement plans, annuities, and bank accounts, can pass to beneficiaries upon your death regardless of what your Will or Trust says. By placing beneficiary designations on such assets, you can ensure those assets pass immediately to those designated beneficiaries when you pass away.
Why should I implement an estate plan?
One of the primary reasons to implement an estate plan is to gain the peace of mind that comes with knowing your legal affairs are in order. Estate planning will allow you and your family to know who decision-makers will be and what will happen with your estate if something tragic should occur. Estate planning documents alleviate some of the uncertainties that your family will feel. A comprehensive estate plan will also protect the financial wellbeing that you have worked so hard to secure. An estate plan will allow you to rest easy knowing that your family is aware of your wishes and will be protected from additional stress.
How can the Broehl Law Office help?
At the Broehl Law Office, we can help you review and implement a comprehensive estate plan that is tailored specifically to your wishes and circumstances. If you have current documents in place, we will gladly review them to determine if they accurately reflect your wishes. If you do not have any documents in place already, we will draft and help you implement new documents.
We greatly value our relationships with our clients, and we normally place a high value on sitting down with you in-person and getting to know you. However, given the health and safety risks presented by COVID-19, we are generally conducting all appointments via phone calls or video-conferencing applications. Additionally, we have multiple options in place for signing documents while observing social distancing and other safety guidelines. We know this is not ideal, but our primary goal at this time is to protect the health and safety of our clients, staff, and their families. While we are not open to the public currently, we remain in business and are diligently working to meet our clients’ needs. If you are interested in discussing estate planning with one of our attorneys, please call us at (330) 264-9897 to schedule an initial consultation. We do not charge for initial consultations.