In recent weeks, financial planners, powers of attorney and family breadwinners have undergone a subtle shift in thinking about the future. With so much uncertainty on the horizon as a result of COVID-19, the old conventions and rules of thumb for retirement planning, near-term budgeting and asset liquidation don't carry the same weight.
For instance, in two prominent Forbes articles published a day apart, the authors pondered new parameters for estate planning in light of the realities of COVID-19's effects on society at large – but more so on individual families whether their enduring documents need updates or alterations.
People who begin showing symptoms of COVID-19 – or really any illness for which the prognosis isn't bright – are likely to spend time trying to shed the virus and recover from its myriad side effects, as well as isolating from loved ones and colleagues. For serious cases that take a turn for the worse, patients may need to be admitted to the hospital, placed on ventilators or given unproven treatments in the hopes of making a turnaround.
During this time, intricate paperwork like wills, trusts and legacy documentation aren't likely to be top of mind, and understandably so. Similarly, family members of COVID-19 patients may not be aware of the status of enduring documents, where to find them, whom to call, how to interpret them and whether they're valid in a court of law. The questions abound.
This is the nature of a viral disease for which there is no cure – one that puts billions at risk and can stealthily infect without notice. And that's even before considering asymptomatic carriers who may infect others without knowing they have the virus.
All this is to say that families may be ill-prepared to manage the estate planning implications of the pandemic, like documented powers of attorney, emergency contacts, Do Not Resuscitate directives and various other medical and legal must-haves.
One of the strongest commitments you can make to your loved ones is removing any arduous or expensive hassle that may result from invalid wills, incomplete documents and unsigned inheritance paperwork.
The probate attorneys at Gerard Malouf & Partners can strengthen your dispute claims, contest wills and maintain the legacy of the deceased on your behalf. Take advantage of a free consultation today.