In a time of fear and uncertainty, it can be difficult to keep the facts straight. The coronavirus pandemic has reminded many people that life is short, and we must prepare. While panic is unnecessary, you should certainly exercise caution with both your health and your estate.
Estate Planning Lawyers: The Unsung Heroes of the Coronavirus
Estate planning lawyers are busier than perhaps ever before. As homeowners realize the importance of getting their affairs in order, they use this time in quarantine to ask questions about estate planning and enlist the help of their lawyers.
While plenty of essential employees place their health and safety on the line to meet our daily needs, don’t forget to thank all the lawyers helping homeowners, businesses, and law officials keep their heads during this frightening time in history.
How Can You Get Your Estate in Order?
So, if you need to get your estate in order but aren’t sure how, where should you begin? You need to start by choosing a lawyer. Then, take it one step at a time. This may be difficult during the Coronavirus, but start by asking around for references.
1. Choose a power of attorney.
A power of attorney is a person authorized by you to act on your behalf financially or represent you legally. Depending on what you are granting authority to (assets, property, bank accounts, etc.), your lawyer may require some accompanying documents and witnesses.
2. Establish an advance healthcare directive.
An advance healthcare directive states how you would like to be cared for should you lose the ability to care for yourself. Most people think of this document as one for elderly people, but there are many reasons besides age that you might lose the ability to care for yourself.
3. Get end-of-life documents in place.
End-of-life documents include your final will and testament, important files and records (such as property deeds and tax information), Living Will, Letter of Intent, and more. Your lawyer will help you gather these documents into one place.
4. Locate a safe storage location.
Your end-of-life documents will do you little good if you do not store them in a safe place. Many people store their will in a fireproof safe or file cabinet or keep copies online.
5. Communicate with family.
Wherever you decide to store your information, make sure you communicate it to the right people. Your family needs to know where your information is located to avoid confusion in the future.
While we never want to “scare” anyone into getting their affairs in order, it is important to remember that no one lives forever. Estate planning before your death eases the grief of your loved ones as they don’t have to figure out what to do with everything. For the sake of your family and for your last wishes, take the time to square these issues away.
How Can the U.S. Will Registry Help?
The U.S. Will Registry was founded in 1997 to fill an important gap. The location of your registered will or other end-of-life documents is stored in a database for later access. We provide families and beneficiaries with a means to find lost wills and estate planning documents of those who have passed away.