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Scott Barbur, Barbur Laskey

Estate Planning During Coronavirus

| Scott Barbur, Barbur Laskey

So far, 2020 is not the year we were expecting. The more we learn about Coronavirus, the more it appears that the virus can affect anyone. It comes as no surprise that people of all ages are asking how to draft an estate plan.

The nagging voice inside your head tells you that you need to get your affairs in order. Maybe you have more time on your hands to finally get around to it, or perhaps you are awake at night, glued to the news, worrying about the “what if” scenario. Either way, you have been putting off preparing your estate plan, and with Coronavirus sticking around much longer than any of us hoped, you’re in panic mode. Let’s talk about estate planning during COVID-19.

The media is equal parts depressing and irresistible: doctors are encouraging healthcare directives, lawyers are inundated with clients setting up powers of attorney, and business owners are drafting their succession plans. What does any of this mean? You have heard of wills and trusts before, but this seems much more complex. Allow me to explain. A healthcare directive lays out your medical wishes in advance of any illness, so that your medical team can refer to them in the event that you are unable to communicate. A power of attorney allows for an appointed person of your choosing to make financial decisions on your behalf in the event that you cannot. And a business succession plan communicates what you want to happen to your hard-earned business should you die.

So, what documents do you actually need? Like a great suit, an estate plan should be custom-tailored to you. In this time of uncertainty, many estate planning attorneys are offering free virtual consultations to answer this exact question and to get the ball rolling.

Do you really need to start emergency drafting? In short, yes. If you don’t have an estate plan, or you need to review and update yours, I recommend taking this time to do it. If a global pandemic isn’t motivation, I’m not sure what is.

A final note: if going online to a DIY will site seems like the most convenient route, please remember what is at stake. Working with an estate planning attorney ensures personalized advice, an expert level of detail, and professional care that an online program does not. Often, these programs lead to problems that attorneys must fix later – on your time and your dime. If you are worried about the health risks of working with your attorney to draft documents or make changes to existing ones, many law firms are taking every precaution to keep their clients safe. We can help you achieve your goals with virtual meetings, drive-thru will signings, and thoughtfully plan for little to no interaction. We want to protect our clients both now and in the future.

Happy (estate) planning!