Coronavirus Outbreak: Estate Planning During a Global Pandemic

Picture of people with surgical masks on trying to prevent coronavirus

The coronavirus outbreak has many thinking about the future. Across the country, people are preparing for quarantines by stocking up on the essentials, like food and medicine. While practical, this sort of preparation is not the only thing to have on your mind right now. Another prudent action to consider during the COVID-19 pandemic involves planning for the future of one’s estate. Given the risks associated with the coronavirus, reviewing one’s estate planning documents can help you prepare for the unexpected. Below, our California estate planning attorney recommends a few actions to take during this time.

Estate Planning During the Coronavirus Outbreak

  • Prepare or revise a will or a living trust.
    A will or trust establishes your final wishes for your wealth, assets and property. These documents allow you to allocate and distribute your estate to chosen beneficiaries upon your death. Since the coronavirus outbreak poses some risk of fatality, it is not a bad idea to start drafting a will or trust at this time, even if it is just a precaution. Passing away without this type of estate planning document in place will leave these important decisions to the courts.
    If you have already prepared a will or trust, you should take the time to review it and revise as needed. These documents are amendable when necessary to reflect new wishes or acquisitions. To review your documents, consider some of the following questions:

    • Who have I named as my beneficiaries?
    • Do I wish to keep, remove or alter my named beneficiaries?
    • Should my beneficiaries receive their inheritance outright or through a trust?
    • Who is my named successor trustee or executor?
    • Is my successor trustee or executor still fit to carry out my wishes?
    • Who does my estate plan appoint as guardian(s) of my minor children?
    • Is the appointed guardian(s) still fit to serve in this capacity?
    • Are all of my assets accounted for in my estate plan?
    • Are there any discrepancies between my financial account beneficiaries and those named in my estate plan?
  • Draft an advance directive and/or medical power of attorney.
    The coronavirus outbreak poses serious risks to the health of many people across the country. For this reason, it is a good idea to consider your legal options when it comes to medical care. An advance directive is any legally binding document in which you outline your medical preferences. In some cases, this can simply mean outlining in detail the procedures that you are okay with in advance. It can also mean appointing a medical power of attorney who will make these medical decisions for you if you cannot.
  • Appoint a financial power of attorney.
    You can also appoint a financial power of attorney in your estate plan. If you become unable to make rational decisions, this person would make financial decisions about your estate on your behalf. This document functions as a safeguard, it only takes effect in the event that you are unable to manage your own finances.

Need to Draft or Review Your Documents? Contact Our California Estate Planning Attorney

The coronavirus outbreak has many on edge about what the future will bring. One way to remove uncertainty is by drafting or updating your estate plan. These documents allow you to take control over the future of your assets, while protecting your family and loved ones at the same time. To get started, contact our office at (714) 790-1827 or leave us a message online.

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