Having an estate plan is always important, but even more so in the midst of a global pandemic when the threat of serious illness is greater than normal. Even if you already have an estate plan, when was the last time you updated it? An estate plan is only effective if the information it contains is current and accurate.
HOW DO I CREATE AN ESTATE PLAN DURING CORONAVIRUS?
To create or update your estate plan during Coronavirus, consider hiring a lawyer who specializes in estate planning. The lawyer can assist you in creating the documents you need to plan for both today and tomorrow.
DOCUMENTS FOR TODAY AND TOMORROW
In addition to a Trust and/or Last Will and testament, a good estate plan also contains “living documents”, like a Power of Attorney and Living Will. These documents outline your desires about your financial affairs and healthcare treatments when you are unable to make or communicate those decisions yourself.
As we have seen with Coronavirus, people who are affected often spend days or even weeks in the hospital. Sometimes they are unconscious and unable to communicate. Living documents clearly communicate your desires for such a situation and that can be helpful to medical staff, financial institutions, and your family.
DO I HAVE TO MEET A LAWYER IN PERSON?
Now more than ever, estate planning lawyers are modifying their practices to be increasingly more virtual and therefore more convenient to clients. There are a variety of ways you can connect with an estate planning lawyer that do not require in-person contact.
- Phone: Often used for the initial consultation, a simple phone call can be the best way to meet with an attorney.
- Video Conferencing: From Zoom to Facetime to Google Hangout, there are a variety of video conferencing platforms that easily replace in-person meetings. Plus, unlike phone calls, both the client and attorney are able to visually put a face to the voice on the other end.
- Email: Depending on the client’s needs, an estate plan may have up to 200+ pages of necessary documents. Rather than printing all those pages for review, email is the method most used to provide the drafts of the estate plan. Plus, email most beneficial when a client has questions or requests changes. By providing that information via email rather than over the phone, it creates a clear and written record of the client’s questions, concerns, and desires.
Many estate planning documents need to be witnessed and notarized. As a result, the signing of these documents needed to be in person. However, COVID-19 has seen many states push for E-Notary and online witnessing options. Check with your estate planning attorney to see if E-Notary is an option for your estate plan.
Interested in meeting virtually with an attorney? Contact the law offices of Kamper & Estrada, PLLC to chat with our experienced estate planning lawyer Phoenix, AZ trusts using whichever method you are most comfortable with.