Everyone is feeling the effects of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Schools are closed in Cayuga, Onondaga and surrounding counties and more closures are being announced daily. In an effort to be prepared for a quarantine people have stocked up on basics such as toilet paper, hand sanitizer, water and canned goods. In order to be fully prepared for a pandemic like this you should have an up to date estate plan in place to fully protect your loved ones.
If you have an estate plan ask yourself these questions:
1. Where are your documents? Locate your Will, Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy and Living Will. Be sure these documents are readily accessible in case of an emergency.
2. Do your loved ones have access to these documents? Make sure your loved ones know where these documents are and how to access them. Your agent designated in your Power of Attorney should have a copy of the Power of Attorney and know how to access the original. Better yet, record your original Power of Attorney with the County Clerk and give your agent a time-stamped copy. Consider making copies of your Living Will and Health Care proxy and giving them to your Doctor to hold in your file.
3. When were your documents last updated? We recommend updating your documents every 5 to 7 years. If your Will no longer reflects your wishes it should be updated; if you have more children or grand-children since you last Will was done it should be updated, if your wishes have changed since your last Will was done it should be updated, If you want a different Executor or Trustee or the Executor can no longer act it should be updated. The same goes for your Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy and Living Will.
4. Are beneficiaries updated? Make sure that your retirement plans and life insurance policies have up to date beneficiaries.
If you do not have a current estate plan you need one
Estate planning is essential to ensure that your loved ones are taken care of and that your assets are disposed over according to your wishes.
An estate plan is more than just a Will. If you become seriously ill you need a Power of Attorney in order to conduct personal business transactions. If you become incapacitated and do not have a Power of Attorney your bank account can not be accessed, checks can not be written, essential bills like your mortgage might not get paid. You don't want to recover from a serious illness and then find your house in foreclosure and your car repossessed. A Living Will gives your caregivers specific instructions on your care while you are alive: ie. You may elect not to have artificial respiration or feeding in the event you have no chance of recovery etc.
Emergency preparedness is more than just stocking up on supplies. Estate planning is critical to protect your family, your assets and to carry out your wishes.
We offer free estate planning consultations. In light of the current pandemic we are also offering phone consultations in order to limit exposure. Please contact us today for your consultation.