The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the lives of many in a variety of ways. The pandemic has had far-reaching consequences, ranging from constraints on how we spend our lives to views regarding money and income. The pandemic has also impacted estate planning, with many individuals obliged to ponder what would happen if they lost a loved one unexpectedly. It has, nevertheless, emphasized the significance of planning for future security for you and your loved ones. Keep reading to learn more about how COVID-19 has influenced people to talk to estate planning attorneys.
COVID-19 served as a wake-up call, making individuals, particularly the younger generation, more conscious of their vulnerability. They’re keener to ensure that their planning is up to date. Caring.com has done an annual poll of 2,500 Americans since 2015 to discover who handles estate planning and why. The poll separates the market into three age groups: 18 to 34-year-olds, 35 to 54-year-olds, and 55-year-olds. For the first time, statistics from 2021 revealed that adults within the 18 to 34-year-old bracket were 16% more likely to possess a will than those aged 35 to 54.
Many people choose to work with estate planning attorneys because of COVID-19. The survey also discovered that 35% of participants predicted a larger need for estate planning in 2021. Despite the urge to prepare, two out of every three American people lack a will. The main reasons respondents avoided estate planning were procrastination, expense, and a lack of understanding. In 2021, The Wealth Counsel conducted The Estate Planning Trends Survey, similar research on estate planning experts. According to the results of this study, 54% of the experts polled have witnessed a rise in the number of customers interested in amending their trusts or wills since the pandemic began.
Proper estate planning with family members can safeguard against unanticipated events caused by health issues such as COVID-19. When most people think about estate planning, they think of a Will. While a Will is an important aspect of any effective strategy, it’s not the only action you can take to safeguard your and your family’s future. Other documents can be created to safeguard an individual’s estate. The primary aim of these documents is to offer precise medical care instructions, among other wishes of the creator. To protect yourself and your family during the COVID-19 pandemic, here are some important documents you should prepare with estate planning attorneys.
A will becomes active after death. This document governs your assets that are not held jointly with a right of survivorship, do not have a “transfer on death” or “pay on death” designation, or are regulated by a beneficiary designation. An executor is a personal representative who manages your affairs in accordance with the terms of your will. The ideal practice in the execution of a Will is to have two witnesses and a notary sign your will. If this is not practicable, most governments will regard a will as valid if it is signed in the presence of two witnesses. Notarization is incredibly beneficial in proving that the will is legally legitimate. Hence, it is strongly recommended, even if it is not necessary. Furthermore, only the original will is legally binding; copies are often considered invalid. Most Americans, wary of the effect of the pandemic, have opted to create a will. According to Caring.com, Americans who have had a serious case of COVID-19 are 66% more likely to have a will than those who have not.
A DPOA chooses a substitute decision maker (your agent) to make financial decisions on your behalf (i.e., venturing into real estate transactions, paying bills, etc.). A DPOA is only valid for the creator’s lifetime. The durable power of attorney takes effect immediately upon execution/signing in Florida and is a great benefit to have in place. If the creator should become incapacitated or no longer competent, then there is someone designated by the durable power of attorney authorized to handle their financial affairs.
A designated healthcare surrogate, like a DPOA, is a substitute decision maker that acts in the interest of the creator’s healthcare choices (i.e., admission to a nursing facility). A healthcare surrogate is only valid over your lifetime and activates when a creator is unable to produce or convey decisions on their own.
Once you’ve given this power to someone, it’s important to share all pertinent documents with your doctor or anyone else who might be involved with your care in the future. Overcommunicating, in the beginning, is important, as you’ll be unable to make adjustments or explain decisions down the line. Healthcare surrogates are not only for the elderly. A severe illness or injury can come about at any age, but parents or guardians will be in charge of their child’s healthcare decisions until they turn 18.
A Living Will expresses a creator’s wishes on specific end-of-life care issues, such as using a feeding tube on the deathbed or organ donation. Putting your desires in writing and reviewing them with the designated healthcare surrogate and other loved ones helps keep your family from speculating about what you want and from experiencing the emotions that accompany making certain decisions on your behalf.
Your Living Will is always honored, as long as all the papers have been filed correctly and everyone is informed. Unfortunately, emergencies do arise, and, unless you carry a Do-Not-Resuscitate Order, life-saving measures will be taken until the emergency has passed.
If you operate a family business, now is an excellent time to think about planning succession or handing the company to the next generation. The pandemic has produced unprecedented upheaval for businesses, resulting in economic consequences. Consequently, it would be a good time to think about a business strategy in case something happens to you or another close relative.
Unfortunately, it’s true that COVID-19 can infect otherwise healthy persons. Even if people recover completely, they may be unable to make important financial or medical decisions. An excellent estate plan might help you relax and be prepared for any events that may arise due to the pandemic. A power of attorney, a health care power of attorney, or a living will convey instructions to family members in the event of your incapacity or death. If you’re worried about the effect COVID-19 may have on your life, reliable estate planning attorneys would be able to give further insight into how estate planning may help you achieve your objectives for the future. Call Forefront Law today to get started.