Covid-19 and Estate Planning
2020 has been quite the year. The year began and continues with a pandemic and ends with an unusually contentious presidential election. It is during times of change that it is important to review and update your estate plan, in other words, this is a good time to do it!
Revisit your will and revocable living trust. You may want to make changes. You, your beneficiaries, and those around you may have been impacted by these difficult economic times which may call for revisions. We have all been affected by Covid-19 in different ways. Reassess your selections for guardians, executors, and trustees.
As part of an estate plan, advance directives for health care and durable powers of attorney should be reviewed regularly. These documents express your wishes regarding financial decision-making and health care decision making while you are alive but unable to communicate or act on your wishes. An advance directive for health care will make decision making during a medical crisis so much easier for your family and loved ones during a medical crisis.
Advance directives for health care have different components. They delineate your wishes about health care decisions. Living wills express your wishes for end of life decisions. A health care proxy appoints a health care representative to serve as your agent to make these decisions. The pandemic has been a brutal reminder to keep your advance directive up to date. Be sure that these documents express your current wishes. Is your agent's information current and have you expressed your wishes to your agent? Make sure your documents are properly prepared, executed and that your agent is fully prepared with the knowledge to make the decisions you would want made.
A durable power of attorney gives power to an individual to conduct business in the name of the person who executes it. Many financial institutions require their own forms. Review these documents to make sure they are effective should they have to be implemented. Can they deal with your digital assets? Make sure the agent's information is current.
Make sure that the trusts that are part of your estate plan work with today's economy. Are the successor trustees and the beneficiary designations up to date? Make sure the trusts aren't outdated. Do the trusts reflect the current tax laws?
Estate plans can be complex instruments. They are vital to ensure that your assets are distributed as you wish. They also have bearing on how your health care is given and end of life wishes. Covid-19 and the attendant economy has made many people rethink what is in their estate plan. Work with an estate planning attorney to make sure your estate plan is crafted to work specifically for you and addresses today's needs and economy. Contact Shoffner & Associates to review and update your current estate plan or to create a new one.
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