With the recent onset of the world-wide pandemic of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), you may be wondering if all of your affairs are in order. While no one wants to think about the worst-case scenario, it is important to make sure that your estate plans and powers of attorney are set up properly, just in case.
The California estate planning attorneys at Galanti and Copenhaver, Inc. can help you make sure that you are prepared for the pandemic with your estate planning. We handle cases at all stages of estate planning, from preparing initial estate plans and documents to estate litigation. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to learn more about what we have to offer you.
Why Should I Worry About My Estate Plans Right Now?
Now is as good of a time as any to finalize your estate plans, including creating trusts and drawing up wills. There is never a bad time to prepare for the future. While many people who become infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience minor symptoms and not require hospitalization, there is no way to truly know how the virus may impact you or your family. It is always better to be prepared.
Preparing a Last Will and Testament
One important consideration while preparing for a pandemic is whether to create a last will and testament. Creating a will gives you the ability to have your assets and property distributed in accordance with your direction at the time of your death. With a will, you also have the ability to choose a trusted individual to serve as the executor of your will–meaning that they will have the responsibility to make sure that the distribution of your assets and property is handled properly.
If you do not have a will, your property and assets will be distributed according to California’s intestate succession laws. The court will also appoint someone to serve as the executor of your estate.
Another reason to create a will during these uncertain times is that a will allows you to designate a guardian to take care of your minor children in the event of your passing. Without a will, this decision will be made by the court. Such an important decision that will have a lasting impact on your child or children’s wellbeing should be made by you, not left for the court to decide.
Advance Healthcare Directives and Living Wills
Advance healthcare directives are often called “living wills.” This document gives you the opportunity to specify what forms of end-of-life care and treatment you do or do not want to receive in the event you become permanently unconscious or terminally ill. Through a living will, you can state whether or not you want extraordinary measures to be taken to prolong your life (such as life support).
Having your medical wishes clearly stated in an advance healthcare directive can make difficult decisions easier on your loved ones. With this document, you can ensure that your wishes regarding medical care and treatment are carried out while sparing your loved ones from having to make these decisions on your behalf.
Power of Attorney Documents
In addition to creating a will, during a pandemic, you should also consider having financial and healthcare power of attorney documents prepared. A financial power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone (of your choosing) the ability to manage your financial affairs and property on your behalf. You should designate someone dependable who you trust to handle this role. You also have the ability to choose the extent of the power given–meaning that this person will only have the authority to act to the extent that you have authorized them to.
Another thing to consider is having healthcare power of attorney documents prepared. A healthcare power of attorney is a legal document that gives someone (of your choosing) the ability to make any necessary healthcare decisions on your behalf in the event that you become incapacitated or incompetent to do so on your own. Financial and healthcare power of attorney documents are particularly important now during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is always a good idea to have these documents in place to protect you, your assets, and your family.
Without financial and healthcare power of attorney documents in place, important financial and healthcare decisions may have to be made by a court-appointed guardian. In order to ensure these matters are handled the way you would want them to be, these power of attorney documents are crucial.