The Impact of COVID-19 on Estate Planning: Lessons Learned

By Chris Tymchuck
Founding Attorney

The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped our lives in countless ways, not least of which is how we think about the future. Have you considered how this shift impacts estate planning? This global event has revealed the sheer unpredictability of life, urging us to prepare for the unforeseen. In the face of such uncertainty, ensuring your estate plan is robust and reflective of your wishes has never been more crucial. 

The Wake-Up Call: Understanding Estate Planning Urgency

The onset of COVID-19 served as a stark reminder of life’s fragility, propelling estate planning from a “someday” task to an immediate necessity for many. Suddenly, questions about safeguarding our family’s future in our absence took on new urgency. It wasn’t just the elderly or those with health issues who felt the push; young adults and parents found themselves confronting the possibility of the unpredictable. This wake-up call showed that being prepared is not an option but a necessity. Estate planning, once a backdrop concern, emerged as a frontline defense against life’s uncertainties.

Key Estate Planning Lessons from the Pandemic

The pandemic has been a learning curve for all aspects of life, especially in the realm of estate planning. Key lessons emerged, reshaping our approach and understanding of preparing for the future:

  • The Importance of Being Prepared: The suddenness of the pandemic caught many off guard, underscoring the significance of having an estate plan ready, regardless of age or health status. Families who had their affairs in order experienced fewer complications during an already difficult time.
  • Flexibility is Key: The legal landscape adapted quickly, introducing measures like virtual notarizations and consultations. This flexibility allowed estate planning to continue and highlighted the need for plans that can adapt to changing laws and circumstances.
  • The Role of Technology in Estate Planning: The shift to digital platforms for managing estate planning processes proved to be not just convenient but essential. It allowed for the safe and efficient organization of documents and meetings, setting a precedent for the future integration of technology in estate planning.

These lessons collectively point out the evolving nature of estate planning in response to global crises.

Practical Tips for Effective Estate Planning Post-COVID

The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped many aspects of our lives, including how we approach estate planning. As we move forward, here are some practical tips to ensure your estate plan remains effective in a post-COVID world:

  • Start Early, Update Often: The pandemic taught us that life is unpredictable. Begin your estate planning as soon as possible and review it regularly, especially after major life events like marriage, the birth of a child, or a significant financial change.
  • Incorporate Health Care Directives: COVID-19 highlighted the critical need for health care directives. Ensure these documents clearly state your wishes regarding medical treatment and end-of-life care.
  • Consider Digital Assets: The increasing reliance on digital platforms means digital assets like social media accounts, online banking, and digital currencies should be included in your estate plan. Designate someone to manage these assets and provide them with the necessary information to do so.
  • Leverage Technology for Flexibility: Take advantage of technologies that offer flexibility in planning and maintaining your estate, such as virtual consultations with attorneys and digital document storage.

Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney

At Unique Estate Law, we’re dedicated to crafting personalized estate plans that reflect your specific needs and goals. We can guide you through every step, ensuring peace of mind for you and your loved ones. Reach out to us today.

About the Author
As a Minneapolis Estate Planning and Probate attorney I help build and protect families through the adoption, estate planning, and probate processes. I also have experience working with families on issues related to their small businesses. I know how difficult it is to find time to plan for the future and I am here to help walk you through it.