The COVID-19 pandemic has made many individuals and families realize the importance of estate planning. As the situation progresses, many people seek urgent help from estate planning lawyers to handle their affairs. The need to consider estate planning has become essential to Americans of all ages.
Regardless of your age or health, it is critical to work with an estate planning attorney to ensure that you have plans in place. These plans should include leaving your assets to your loved ones and managing your health care if you become incapacitated and cannot make those important decisions for yourself. You can get ahead of unexpected health crises through professional estate planning.
Creating a Last Will
For many people, one of the most important parts of estate planning is creating a will. Each state has laws concerning making a valid will, and it will be essential to seek advice from an estate planning lawyer in your area who can help. In some places, they are legal even if they are handwritten as long as they are signed and dated.
In other states, it is necessary to have a typed document with witnesses. Very few states allow spoken wills, but this type may be possible in certain situations and places. When planning to leave real estate property, you will almost always need to have a typed document appropriately executed with witnesses and assistance from a lawyer.
If you die without a will, you will be said to have died intestate. When a person dies intestate, their assets are distributed according to the state’s laws. This law means that you cannot decide who inherits your property unless you have a valid will. Since the pandemic, states have developed systems for creating valid documents remotely so that people do not have to leave their homes and risk exposure.
Establishing a Trust
Establishing a trust can be a helpful addition to estate planning for various reasons. By selecting a trust, you can allow your loved ones to avoid probate for certain assets, which can be costly and time-consuming. Without this documentation, your assets will need to go through the probate process. Trusts can also allow you to provide for disabled family members without affecting their ability to receive certain federal benefits.
These are just some of the benefits of a trust, and it is crucial to learn more from an estate planning lawyer. It takes time to set up a trust, which may be a challenge if you discover you are suffering from COVID-19 or another severe illness. Similar to the process of creating a valid will during the pandemic, you can handle most matters concerning a trust remotely.
Advance Directives During the Pandemic
During the pandemic, you will also want to work with an estate planning attorney to create advance directives for your peace of mind. These health care documents go by different names in different states, but they allow you to name another person who can make health care decisions on your behalf. If you become incapacitated, you can outline your wishes for life-saving treatment (or lack thereof) in the event you cannot voice your decisions yourself.
For more information about estate planning during the pandemic, get in touch with an experienced estate planning lawyer in your area.