The Importance of Estate Planning During the COVID-19 Crisis
The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting communities throughout our region. According to official data published by the Florida Department of Health 40,982 cases have been confirmed in the state as of May 12th. More cases are expected to arise in the near future. With so much uncertainty, it may be the right time to review and revise your estate planning documents. Below our Naples estate planning lawyers highlight three steps you can take to ensure that you and your family are properly protected.
Three Estate Planning Tips to Ensure You are Prepared for COVID-19
- Review Your Will—and Assess Other Options to Protect Assets
Every adult needs a will. Wills are the cornerstone of any estate plan, as they allow you to state which beneficiaries should receive your assets in the event that you pass away. This can help expedite the probate process, but it does not ensure that your loved ones will avoid it altogether. To help your loved ones avoid probate, you will have to create a revocable trust.
Trusts work similarly to a will, with the exception that the assets within a trust are not subject to the probate process. Due to the fact that trusts are revocable, you can also change them at any time, just as you can with a will. Although some of your assets may still be subject to probate if you have created a trust, it makes the process much faster.
- Set up Powers of Attorney
A comprehensive estate plan should also include one or more powers of attorney. Simply put, a power of attorney is a legal document that authorizes another party to act on your behalf. By appointing a trusted person to serve as your ‘attorney-in-fact’ or ‘agent’, you will be protected in the event that you become incapacitated or otherwise unable to handle your own financial or legal affairs. No one knows exactly what will happen during these challenging times—drafting a power of attorney will give you and your family peace of mind.
- Consider Advance Directives and a Healthcare Surrogate
Finally, you may want to consider setting up advance directives and appointing a healthcare surrogate. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has the potential to render a person unable to make their own medical decisions. Advance directives are instructions for your medical care. If you have specific wishes regarding your own care, it is recommended that you set up an advance directive so that those wishes are known. Additionally, you may want to select a healthcare surrogate. In Florida, a healthcare surrogate is a person empowered to make medical decisions on your behalf.
Get Help From Our Florida Estate Planning Attorney
At Nici Law Firm, P.L., our Naples estate planning lawyer is Board Certified as a Specialist in Wills, Trusts, and Estates. If you need estate planning guidance we can help by offering a free completely confidential initial consultation. Please contact our legal team today. From our office in Naples, we serve communities throughout Southwest Florida, including Marco Island, North Naples, Estero and Bonita Springs.