To keep assets from disappearing or being claimed by a creditor, your estate plan should…
There has been an explosion in the numbers of Americans rushing to make their will online. Understandably, the coronavirus pandemic has created the scramble to set up wills and end-of-life-directives. However, online do it yourself (DIY) wills are often deemed invalid as they may not comply with all of the legal requirements of your state. According to Caring.com, the prevalence of will and estate planning has been on the decline since 2017 but this trend is quickly reversing itself with the advent of the coronavirus pandemic.
So, who needs a will? Ask yourself if you care who gets your property or money if you die? If you have minor children, do you care who will act as their legal guardian? The answer is anyone married or single, anyone with children, but also without or anyone with assets needs a properly executed will. Wills are governed by state law. Your will should reflect your wishes in the language and format required by the state in which you live for it to be valid.
Many law offices are turning to teleconference with their clients to address social distancing protocols while still providing legal services such as writing a will. Businesses like Zoom are experiencing a quadrupling of daily users. Part of this significant increase includes hosting secure attorney/client meetings for will preparations. The importance of an attorney guiding you through the process of creating a will cannot be understated as they understand the nuances of how things need to be written. Once your will is complete, it must be correctly notarized and witnessed as mistakes made in the will-signing process can potentially invalidate your will. Your attorney will guide you through the signing process, and could involve signing during a video conference.
Beyond the creation of a will, many Americans are increasingly concerned about their powers of attorneys, health care and end of life directives, and living wills. These “life documents,” as they are active while you are alive, are equally as important as your will. Named executors, successors, beneficiaries, agents under powers of attorneys and health care directives should have several back-up representatives as the mortality rate due to the coronavirus remains unknown.
According to research in a recent New York Times report, health care workers are more likely to contract COVID 19 than the average person. During this pandemic, many doctors and other medical professionals are rushing to have their wills drawn up. In addition to doctors, anyone on the front lines in the fight against COVID 19, from hospital custodians to nurses to EMS responders, should either make a will or review and possibly update their existing one. However, the truth is no matter what your profession or likelihood of contracting this virus, you should have a properly executed will and advance directives during this time of considerable uncertainty.
There are few things you can act on during the COVID 19 pandemic that can bring you assurance and a sense of relief. The legal creation of your will and life-directives is an action you can take that protects you and your family.
If you have questions or would like to discuss your own situation in a confidential setting, please don’t hesitate to reach out. You can get in touch with our firm by clicking here to book a consultation, emailing us at [email protected], or by dialing us up at (212) 920-6371.