In light of the recent public health crisis, do you need estate planning tips? Have you been reflecting on issues associated with estate planning? You are not alone. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has had many Americans thinking about how they can protect themselves and their loved ones in the event that tragedy strikes. As we enter Estate Planning Awareness Week, let us discuss three estate planning tips to keep in mind:
- Hire a lawyer. Although the internet is filled with forms and templates and claims that you can DIY your own will, you may want to consult an estate planning attorney so that you can help ensure proper execution of all of the right documents for your specific circumstances. Estate planning is not “one size fits all.” You may have minor children, a family member with special needs, assets in multiple states, a family member with a drug or alcohol issue, a concern about taxes, a health issue that has the potential to create a financial burden, or some other unique circumstance that should be addressed by an attorney. An experienced estate planning lawyer should be able to advise you on how to create a plan tailored to protect your specific needs.
- Designate alternate agents. When executing your estate planning documents, you will often need to designate specific individuals to carry out your wishes. Make sure for each agent you select you also designate one or two alternate agents who can fill the role in case your primary agent is unable to do so. COVID-19 has increased the number of reasons why an agent may not be able to fill his or her role as it has impacted the ability of people to travel freely and has imposed various quarantine and social distancing restrictions. You want to try to make sure you have alternate agents selected so that there is no dispute over who can fill an agent’s role if they cannot perform their duties.
- Share your plans. This is always one of the estate planning tips we share with clients. While you may want to keep your planning private, estate planning can be much less effective if the key people are not informed of the plans. Make sure those who you have selected as agents know their role, your wishes, and where to find the key documents so that, if tragedy strikes, everyone knows where to go and what to do.
We know these estate planning tips are just the start of the discussion you may need to have for yourself, or for your loved ones. Our office is available to answer your questions and help you throughout the estate planning process. Contact us today.