Everyone, including you and your loved ones, should have an estate plan, especially during this time. With so much uncertainty and chaos in the world due to coronavirus COVID-19, an estate plan can bring you some peace of mind.
The Importance of an Estate Plan
An estate plan is a road map for your loved ones to follow so that you know what your final wishes regarding your end of life care and property distribution. With a comprehensive estate plan, your loved ones will have the power to make crucial medical and financial decisions on your behalf.
A comprehensive estate plan should include:
A will outlining what you want to happen to your property after your passing.
An advanced medical directive that designates who will make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so, including how you want to be cared for in the event of an emergency.
A power of attorney document that names who will have the authority to make financial decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so, including paying bills, handling taxes, and managing finances.
Transferring assets to a trust by appointing a trustee to manage your trust and distribute assets. Having a trust in place is essential in helping avoid probate and preserve the privacy of the estate.
If you have never created an estate plan, now is the time to do so. Many people put off creating an estate plan or start to do it, but never finish it. However, this pandemic has proved that this is something you shouldn’t delay.
It can be terrifying to create such a crucial plan in limited time, but remember that an estate plan is not set in stone. Focus on making the most important decisions that need to be made if you are no longer able to do so.
Speaking to a Hinsdale estate planning attorney can help you figure out the key aspects of what should be included in your estate planning documents. At this time, you need to have something in place, even if you are not exactly sure that is what you want. In the future, you can always make adjustments.
Updating Your Estate Plan
If you have an estate plan in place, it’s essential to check and make sure they are reflective of what your current wishes are. Over time, your estate plan may not reflect your goals anymore. Going over your existing documents can ensure that your estate plan will be able to carry out your final wishes.
When reviewing your estate planning documents, consider the following:
Have you experienced a major life change since you executed your documents? This includes changes in your marital status, change in residence, major asset acquisitions, or sales of property, births, or deaths.
Do your executors, trustees, and successors have the ability to serve out your wishes?
Are your executors, trustees, and successors still the people you wish to make decisions in the event you can no longer do so?
Do you know the location of where your original will and trusts are at?
Are your beneficiary designations on your retirement accounts and life insurance policies correct?
One of the most important things you can do is ensure your advanced directions are up-to-date. This includes your health care power of attorney, living will, and power of attorney. Be sure that these are still the people who you trust to carry out the decisions that are what you want.
Ensure Your Loved Ones Have a Plan in Place
If you have implemented your estate plan, it’s just as important to talk to your loved ones and ask them about their wishes as well. Provide them with the resources and support they need to create an estate plan.
Additionally, you should have a conversation with them about who they want to handle their estate if you are unable to do so. You can never be too prepared, and having a backup plan will bring further peace for both you and your loved ones.
Need Help With Creating an Estate Plan?
Whether you need to update your estate planning documents or get started creating your estate plan, Russo Law Offices is available to assist. We understand the urgency of this matter and are here to help you as quickly and safely as possible. Our Hinsdale estate planning attorneys are offering electronic witnessing and notarizing of documents to keep our clients safe during this difficult time.