We are living in unprecedented times. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all aspects of life in America, and its tragic death toll is continuing to rise. Even for individuals for whom COVID-19 is not fatal, contracting the virus can have severe health consequences—potentially necessitating intensive, life-sustaining or long-term care.
Due to these risks, during the COVID-19 crisis, it is especially important for family members to be aware of one another’s estate plans. Here are five topics families should discuss to ensure that they are prepared to address any issues that may arise:
1. Do You Have an Estate Plan?
This is a simple question, but we also know that it can be difficult to ask. Many family members struggle to have conversations about estate planning, even though having a discussion is in everyone’s best interests. In many situations, planning ahead can help to break the ice, and scheduling a Zoom or FaceTime call could be a good way to get started.
2. Does Your Estate Plan Cover Healthcare and Financial Management During Incapacity?
In the event that one of your family members is incapacitated by the COVID-19 virus, it will be important to know what his or her estate plan says about healthcare and financial management. These topics are generally addressed in Powers of Attorney, Healthcare Proxies, and Living Wills.
3. Where is Your Estate Plan Stored?
In addition to knowing what your loved ones’ estate plans say about these and other issues, it will also be important to know where your loved ones’ estate plans are stored. If you need to rely on a family member’s estate plan for any reason, you will need to be able to reference the relevant document (or documents) specifically.
4. How Long has it Been Since You Reviewed Your Estate Plan?
Many people prepare their estate plan and then do not give their plan another thought. However, various events and changes in circumstances can necessitate estate plan modifications during a person’s lifetime. If it has been several years since your parent or another family member has reviewed his or her estate plan, it will be a good idea for him or her to determine whether any updates are necessary.
5. Do You have Any Questions about My Estate Plan?
Finally, any estate planning discussion between family members should be a two-way street. As a result, when asking about your family members’ estate plans, make sure they know that you are prepared to discuss your estate plan as well. By ensuring that everyone has all the necessary information, you can feel confident knowing that your family will be prepared if something happens.
Do You Need Help with Estate Planning or Estate Administration During the COVID-19 Crisis?
At EismanLaw PLLC, we represent clients in New York and Connecticut with regard to estate planning and estate administration, and we are serving clients remotely during the COVID-19 crisis. If you have questions and would like to speak with an attorney, we encourage you to call 914-864-3355 or contact us online to arrange a confidential consultation.