COVID 19 and Top Estate Planning Considerations

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It has been almost seven months since COVID 19 swept through the United States with its unprecedented impact to all facets of our lives. The recent surge in cases along with the upcoming cooler weather in New Jersey have served as as stark reminder that we are not close to being out of the woods with this pandemic. This has sparked an urgent interest in estate planning for many people. For others, the prospect of creating, updating and/or finalizing estate planning documents can be an intimidating thought. In a recent article posted on JDSupra.com, the author succinctly set forth 5 questions that people should consider in light of the ongoing global pandemic.

 

Is your Will or Living Trust Up to Date?  The first consideration is to determine whether your Will or Living Trust in line with your intentions and accurately reflects how you want your assets to pass upon your death. If your family or financial circumstances have changed since the last time you created a Will, it is a good time to consider whether you need a new Will. If you don’t have a Will or Living Trust, it is critical that you put one in place or assets can end up in the wrong hands upon your passing.

 

Is your Trust Funded? A living trust is designed to protect spouses, children and family members with special needs. If it is properly drafted, your Living Trust can also help you with estate tax considerations and to help your estate avoid probate court supervision.

If you have a Living Trust but you failed to fun it with assets, then it may end up being worthless as state intestacy laws may dictate how your assets pass instead of the carefully considered Living Trust.

 

 

Do you need to make changes to your Power of Attorney and/or Living Will? A properly drafted Power of Attorney appoints an individual to handle every conceivable financial transaction on your behalf if you are unable to do so. A Living Will appoints an individual to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. A Living Will also sets forth your advanced directive for medical care. If you don’t have these documents in place, your family may be required to go to Court to have them appointed as Guardian and/or Conservator to make important financial and healthcare decisions for you. This can be an expensive, time consuming and public endeavor that should and can be easily avoided.

 

Is your Will or Living Trust Up to Date?  The first consideration is to determine whether your Will or Living Trust in line with your intentions and accurately reflects how you want your assets to pass upon your death. If your family or financial circumstances have changed since the last time you created a Will, it is a good time to consider whether you need a new Will. If you don’t have a Will or Living Trust, it is critical that you put one in place or assets can end up in the wrong hands upon your passing.

 

 

Is your Trust Funded? A living trust is designed to protect spouses, children and family members with special needs. If it is properly drafted, your Living Trust can also help you with estate tax considerations and to help your estate avoid probate court supervision.

If you have a Living Trust but you failed to fun it with assets, then it may end up being worthless as state intestacy laws may dictate how your assets pass instead of the carefully considered Living Trust.

 

Do you need to make changes to your Power of Attorney and/or Living Will? A properly drafted Power of Attorney appoints an individual to handle every conceivable financial transaction on your behalf if you are unable to do so. A Living Will appoints an individual to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. A Living Will also sets forth your advanced directive for medical care. If you don’t have these documents in place, your family may be required to go to Court to have them appointed as Guardian and/or Conservator to make important financial and healthcare decisions for you. This can be an expensive, time consuming and public endeavor that should and can be easily avoided.

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