One of the many indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is that many people have begun to review their estate plan and assess whether things are in place for the unfortunate day when they become incapacitated or pass away. If you are one of the many people who has not taken the time recently to review your estate plan, this article reviews some helpful strategies to make updating your estate plan easier.
Keep Estate Planning Documents Organized and in One Place
Many people know that they need to make various changes to their estate planning documents, but when it comes time to revise the documents struggle to find where important information is located. While details about a new birth in the family might be located in one location, other details about an appreciated asset might be located elsewhere. By doing your best to keep your documents organized and centralized, you can greatly cut down on the amount of time it takes to revise your estate plan. This holds even if you are relying on the assistance of an estate planning lawyer to make these changes.
Consider Triggering Moments
A power of attorney refers to a legal document and legal relationship in which an individual referred to as an “agent” is granted the power to make financial, legal, or tax decisions for you if you become incapacitated. While one type of power of attorney becomes effective on signing, or immediately, another power of attorney becomes effective only if you become incapacitated. Sometimes, a springing power of attorney can prove impractical.
For example, COVID-19 is a rapidly accelerating illness. A person who is placed in a coma due to the virus could only be alive for a few days. Two physicians are often required to assess a person’s condition, and in such a situation it might be difficult to assess incapacity within this period. When you routinely review the terms of your estate plan, you should inspect the triggering event when various terms of your estate plan become effective and whether you are content with such arrangements.
Make Sure You Have the Necessary Estate Planning Documents
Many people think that estate planning only involves a will, but there are several other helpful estate planning documents that will likely prove advantageous. Some estate planning documents that prove helpful include:
- Living wills are statements related to your healthcare preferences.
- Healthcare proxies or medical power of attorney forms are documents in which you appoint an individual to make medical decisions if you cannot do so
- HIPAA releases are documents that were created to protect confidential healthcare details.
- DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) or POLST (Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) are documents that describe how the creator would like to approach end-of-life issues.
Contact a Knowledgeable Estate Planning Attorney
One of the most common myths about the estate planning process is that it is a one-and-done process. In reality, it is critical to periodically review the terms of your estate plan. If you need the assistance of an estate planning attorney, do not hesitate to contact estate planning attorney Jim A Lyon today.