Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, even otherwise healthy individuals have had to consider the potential of severe health difficulties. It is more important now than ever to have an estate plan that considers what will happen in the event of your death.
For example, you may want to dictate what is to be done with your home and physical property if you pass away. If you have a family business, you may want to make considerations for passing on ownership. You may also wish to name a person to take custody of your children.
Having an accurate and up-to-date estate plan is essential during public health crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. It is recommended that you talk to a seasoned attorney who could help to identify areas of concern and create new documents that meet your needs.
Health Threats of COVID-19
Generally, the coronavirus has the most severe impact on the elderly and those with preexisting conditions. However, even young and healthy people have passed away after contracting this disease. Sadly, many people contract the disease through no fault of their own. Merely going to the grocery store, performing one’s job, and running errands exposes us to dangerous pathogens that can result in severe illness.
The Centers for Disease Control reports that symptoms can set in anywhere from 2-14 days after exposure to the virus, and severe illness can quickly follow. This could leave people unable to make vital changes to their existing estate plans. Forming a comprehensive plan as soon as possible minimizes the chances of being caught unprepared and can give you peace of mind for the future.
How to Update an Estate Plan
A surprising percentage of the adult population has no estate plan. This means that if they die, their estate will flow through their state’s intestacy laws. This could result in the forced sale of a home, fracturing of a business, or taxation of their estate to the detriment of their children.
Forming an estate plan can help people retain control of their assets should the worst occur after contracting COVID-19. For instance, a Will can provide instructions for what is to be done with property after death. A business succession plan can give orders to a board of directors or nominate an heir to take over a company. A Trust can shift ownership of property to benefit a beneficiary at a later date and avoid the probate process. Regardless of your situation, an attorney could explain these tools and help to craft an estate plan that meets your specific needs.
It is also important to keep your estate plan updated after you have created it. You can modify an existing testamentary document, such as a Will, by creating a new version. Alternatively, authoring a codicil is a way to amend an existing document without completely invalidating it. If new life events have made it necessary to revise your estate plan, talking with a lawyer could help you to better understand your options.
It is Essential to Have an Estate Plan During COVID-19
The threat of COVID-19 affects us all. Even simple actions like going to the grocery store put us in danger of contracting a severe illness. In a time of heightened risks, having an up-to-date estate plan is crucial.
An estate plan can provide instructions on various issues, such as the distribution of property, gifting of funds to charity, or naming of guardians for children. Speak to a knowledgeable lawyer today to better understand the importance of an estate plan and how these documents can help to provide security for an uncertain future.