No one likes facing their own mortality, but during this time of pandemic as COVID-19 is affecting society worldwide across all ages, races, and genders, it causes us to pause. Life is fragile and worth protecting and fighting for. Here is an article for those who like me, want to plan for the worst and pray for the best.
How can we construct a well thought out estate plan, what if the worst happens?
Because COVID-19 is affecting all those around us it is important to consider who you have named in your documents.
If everyone in your immediate proximity are your beneficiaries, your agents, your loved ones, and you all get COVID-19, what then? Look and see if everyone who is your “go to” could be ill with you. This is what I call the nuclear plan.
Now, who are your CONTINGENT beneficiaries? Who are the ALTERNATE agents making decisions for you in your advance healthcare directives and financial powers of attorney? What about your trustees, do you have ALTERNATES named? What happens if everyone you have selected falls ill or passes before you? Since we can’t predict or control everything, what is another selection process you want used?
Moral of the story- ALWAYS have multiple alternates.
What if something happens to me, how will my agents know what to do, or know that they are agents? TALK to them. A simple conversation can go a long way. I don’t always advise giving out the documents to those you name as agents, but I do advise giving them the card of the attorney who has your documents in case something happens. If you later change your mind and name someone else, then the former agent doesn’t need the documents but they know where the estate planning documents can be located.
Be sure your attorney has an electronic copy readily available for you to send to others as needed.
Keep in mind these are questions I review with my clients whether or not there is a pandemic. This type of planning in the midst of this crisis is not going to change what type of plan you have when the crisis is over. What matters for both now AND the future is having one in place. So take a breath and contact your attorney to plan accordingly. We got this.