Coronavirus / COVID 19: Your Family Needs a Plan, Part 1

A Minnesota Estate Planning Attorney Explains that Estate Planning is Always Important: Not Just During Global Scares

Coronavirus /COVID 19 News is Everywhere

You can’t open any news course, or social media platform, without being inundated with news, rumors, pictures or stories about coronavirus. In fact, I’ve had several clients reach out to me to discuss their estate plans given the fear of incapacity or death.

Given the relatively early stages of the the pandemic caused by coronavirus / COVID-19, it’s difficult to predict the long-term impacts it will have on us. While I can’t offer much in the way of medical guidance, as an estate and trust attorney, I can discuss the ways in which you can prepare your family for any legal ramifications if someone is sick or worse.

So far, it appears that most of the deaths linked to coronavirus / COVID-19 are for people who are over the age of 60. Additionally, those who have chronic illnesses like heart disease and diabetes have a 5–10% higher chance of dying from it.

As noted above, as news of the pandemic has increased, there has been an increase in people contacting me to ensure that their affairs are in order. For some, it took a global scare like coronavirus to push them to finally put together their first estate plan to protect their family and property.

Estate Planning is Always Important

I am “pleased” that people are realizing it’s important to ensure your estate planning documents such as your will, living trust, power of attorney, and advance health care directive are in place and up-to-date. However, it’s important to note that it is always a good time to make sure this important task is completed.

Your chances of being incapacitated in a given year are 5 times higher than the same chance that you will die accidents However, it is times like these when there is a global sickness receiving ample media attention that really thrusts estate planning to the forefront for many people.

Ensure You Have an Updated Advance Health Care Directive and Power of Attorney

I don’t need to state the obvious. I hope you and your family stay healthy and safe, but in the event you or a loved one gets sick and needs to go to the hospital, it is critical that you have a plan in place to take care of medical and financial matters if you are unable to do so.

You must execute documents to legally name the person or people authorized to make health care and financial decisions for you if you cannot make them for yourself. Please note that this authorization is not automatic even for a married couple. In other words, your spouse does not automatically have the power to make medical decisions or handle financial matters on your behalf.

You can authorize a trusted individual to make health care decisions on your behalf as well as state your wishes regarding your health care in a health care directive. It is essentially a power of attorney for health care.

You should also authorize a trusted individual to make financial decisions for you in a durable power of attorney. We can help you prepare these documents and more in our office, either to take precautions against coronavirus or for any other reason. Please get in touch if you are ready to get this handled and would like our help.

And if you would prefer to handle these matters without the hassle of coming into our office, please note my business is set up to assist you remotely. This means we can handle everything via phone or email via my unique system that securely allows us to communicate and send documents to you for review and execution.

There is so much you can’t control in the world. Take control of something that will bring you peace of mind by get your estate plan in place now. Call an attorney licensed in both Min