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COVID-19 Highlights Importance of Key Estate Planning Documents

Many of my clients tell me that they have been meaning to get around to creating a Will, Power of Attorney, and/or a Health Care Directive for a long time, sometimes for decades. I often tell my clients that things usually go according to plan until they do not. The COVID-19 global pandemic is certainly a time where things are not going as planned. While each person’s particular situation is different during this global pandemic, what is universal is that we are all aware of how quickly life can change in unexpected and significant ways. The current COVID-19 situation highlights the importance of having your legal affairs in order so that you are prepared for the unexpected if and when it comes. For that reason, now is the time to get your legal affairs in order so that you know your loved ones will be provided for and your wishes will be respected no matter what life throws at you.

Here are the three key estate planning documents everyone over age 18 should have:

  1. Will or a Trust: These documents allow you to direct how your assets will be distributed upon your death and who you want to be in charge of wrapping up your affairs. You can also name guardians for a minor child in your Will.
  2. Power of Attorney: This document allows you to give another person the power to make financial decisions and manage assets during your lifetime so that if you are temporarily incapacitated (by being in the hospital for example) someone can take care of your finances for you during that time.
  3. Health Care Directive: A legal document under which a person can (1) name another to make health care decisions; (2) authorize the release of medical records to a third party; and (3) give health care instructions to guide health care decisions in the event a person is unable to make or communicate a health care decision.

Contact me, Heidi Van De Berg, or any of the other estate planners at Gries Lenhardt Allen P.L.L.P., Jill Adkins, Jill Presseller, or Greg Van Heest, to discuss creating key estate planning documents.