Between the social unrest sparked by the murder of George Floyd and ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, our country is facing its toughest moment of the twenty-first-century. Silver linings are fleeting and yet one which has provided many folks has an important source of support is the added time with family. However tempting it may be to keep the peace and avoid challenging conversations while all together, there could hardly be a moment more opportune than the present to address the tricky issue of estate planning.
The Vital Importance of Planning in a Pandemic
Let’s be frank: Covid-19 presents a mortal danger to all of us. Even those at little risk must acknowledge that rarely has life felt so tenuous. Of course, this is nothing new. Unforeseeable tragedy has always conditioned our experience it’s just that now it has become a subject of daily conversation. Experts have long insisted that precisely because the unthinkable can happen, every adult needs an estate plan; now that the unthinkable pervades the air around us, this is truer than ever.
Planning is Caring
While “planning” doesn’t quite have the same ring as “sharing” in the above phrase, it is perhaps the best way to care for both yourself and your loved ones. Organizing your assets in acknowledgement of the precarious present provides peace of mind to all concerned in that it relieves any latent concern about how to handle the matter while also introducing some level of certainty to an uncertain future. Individually, you can rest easy knowing your life’s work is protected while loved ones you intend to designate as beneficiaries can breathe a sigh of relief knowing some part of their financial future is secure.
Estate Planning Begins with A Conversation
A good estate plan includes a will or trust, power of attorney and advance directive documents, and life insurance. Each of these requires a conversation with loved ones before drafting may begin. With many folks stuck at home, there could be no better time to broach the subject but before doing so, take time to reflect on the following:
- Who among your loved ones is best-suited to make medical decisions on your behalf?
- Who would you most trust to make the delicate decisions required of an executor?
- Who might be an appropriate guardian to any minor children of aging parents or grandparents?
- Who will you designate as beneficiaries in your life insurance and estate plan?
- Should you worry about a loved one’s financial management, what protections might you institute and how will you talk to the loved one about these decisions?
Talk to an Attorney!
If in reading the above, you found yourself thinking that you don’t have enough information to address these vital questions, you’re not alone. Less than half of US adults have an estate plan and all too often the reason is fear of navigating a process that at the outset looks overwhelming. A quick chat with an experienced attorney will quickly relieve this worry and set you up to ensure family conversations are a success. Once over this hurdle, you can rely on professional experience to smoothly guide you through all the rest!
Contact Attorney James M. Miskell