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The Importance of Planning During Times of Pandemic and Anxiety

My has phone has been ringing a lot. As people are moving from hoarding water and toilet paper to contemplating the broader implication of this pandemic and life – they seeking to cure their anxiety by seizing control of the things they can control.

According to a 2019 survey, 57% of adults in the United States have not prepared any estate planning documents such as a will or trust, despite the fact that 76% viewed them as important. Many of the respondents said this was due to procrastination, but many others mistakenly believed that it was not necessary because they did not have many assets.

Now, more than ever, an estate plan is necessary. An estate plan can provide significant peace of mind by ensuring your assets are protected, plans are in place in the event you become ill, and your property is passed down according to your wishes. It also significantly eases the concerns and anxiety other family members may have regarding their duties and your intentions.

Key Issues to Consider

If you do not currently have plans, consider the following:
  • Do you need a last will and testament and/or a trust? If you do not have these important documents, state law will determine who will inherit your property—and thus it may not occur in the way you would have chosen. In addition, someone appointed by the court, instead of a trusted person of your choosing, will be in charge of caring for any children or pets. Spelling out your wishes in a will or trust will also prevent unnecessary confusion, anxiety, and expense for other family members when you are gone.
  • Have the proper powers of attorney been prepared? A financial power of attorney will allow you to designate an individual to make financial and property decisions for you should you become unable to handle your own affairs, including paying your bills during a temporary hospitalization. A medical power of attorney enables you to designate a person you trust to make medical decisions for you when you are otherwise unable to speak for yourself.
  • Make sure that you have a living will, which memorializes your wishes concerning your end of life care, such as whether you would like to receive life support if you are in a vegetative state or terminal condition.

If you have plans already in place, you may want to revisit them and discuss them with your family members or others. Consider the following:

  • Do you know where your plans currently are and can you and your family access them in the event of an emergency?
  • Do you need to revisit your plans and update them to make the plans consistent with your current intentions?
  • Have you prepared a list of estate or trust assets, including financial accounts and insurance policies, so that your family understands who may need to be contacted in the event of an emergency.
  • Is your Trust fully funded? Take advantage of this time at home to contact various financial providers about transferring your assets into your Trust.

If you would like assistance reviewing, updating, or creating estate plans, send us a message or call 480.719.7333. Allison can help you make new estate plans or effectuate prior estate planning