The Importance of Estate Planning During the Pandemic

The Importance of Estate Planning During the Pandemic

The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has shaken up a lot of the ways we live and work in the United States. It has also added a sense of urgency to estate planning, particularly for people in high-risk demographics.

The growing case numbers and death counts serve as a constant reminder of our mortality, and in such times it makes sense to create or update an estate plan just in case you should contract the virus and experience a worst-case scenario. Even if you make it through the pandemic without contracting the virus, you will benefit by having all of your affairs in order.

Here are the most important documents for you to update during the pandemic, or create if you do not already have them:

  • Power of attorney: Power of attorney grants your chosen agent the power to act on your behalf with financial affairs. Durable power of attorney grants this authority even if you are incapacitated, which may occur if you have to be put on a ventilator with the virus. Your chosen agent will be able to make deposits, sell or buy assets, pay your bills and perform other financial tasks in your stead.

  • Designation of healthcare surrogate: This is a legal document that gives your chosen agent the ability to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated. Without this document, the court may have to appoint a person to make these decisions for you. Your chosen agent will typically be directed to follow any instructions you leave in advance directives.

  • Will: Your will is the document in which you lay out your wishes for how your assets will be distributed upon your death. Without a will, asset distribution happens in accordance with the state’s intestate succession laws.

For more information about updating your estate plan in the time of COVID-19, contact an experienced Tampa attorney at BaumannKangas Estate Law.