There has never been a time in our lives when the need for an estate plan has been more critical. The sheer numbers of people who have died from COVID-19, in our community and worldwide, is something we have never witnessed. And while it may have seemed at first that the elderly were the most vulnerable, we know better now.
What should you be doing now to protect yourself and your loved ones? At the very least, you need a Will, Power of Attorney, and Advance Care Directive.
Find your most recent Will. If you cannot find it, you need a new one. Now!
Our office is open, and we are working with clients through phone, email, and videoconferences. We take all necessary precautions as recommended by the CDC for anyone who wishes to meet with us in person.
If your Will is over four years old, it probably is out-of-date. Your life may have changed, and it may not reflect new children, grandchildren, spouses, divorces, deaths, etc.
If your Will is out of date, it does not consider the changes in the law that have occurred in recent months. IRA distribution rules for heirs are among many changes that resulted from the SECURE Act (effective January 1, 2020). The CARES Act, passed in response to the economic impact of COVID-19, further modified these rules. What you had intended years ago may not come to pass because of these and other changes.
A will does not take long to create, but not having one creates unnecessary costs and stress for your loved ones.
Power of Attorney – Names a person who manages your finances and may transfer assets in certain situations. A POA allows your designated agent to pay your bills and handle health insurance problems during a medical emergency. Without one, if you are incapacitated, your assets will be inaccessible, and your family will need to undertake a costly Guardianship proceeding.
Healthcare Proxy – Names a person who may make medical decisions if you cannot do so for yourself. Without this document, family members can argue about who should decide what medical care you receive.
Living Will – Tells your health care proxy and family what your wishes are for end-of-life care. Without a Living Will, doctors can keep you alive in a vegetative state for years with no chance of recovery.
Three young women, Karen Ann Quinlan, Nancy Cruzan, and Terri Schiavo, became household names as their families battled over whether to keep them alive by artificial means. Even young adults admitted to intensive care units with COVID-19 are often struck suddenly. There’s no time for them to express their wishes.
We can create a plan tailored to your needs to protect your family. Call our office at (516) 307-1236 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation by phone, video, or in person.