Client Alert: Estate Planning and the Coronavirus
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more critical than ever for everyone to have updated estate planning documents in place, especially individuals who are at high risk from the virus or have jobs that require close interaction with the public, such as essential medical professionals, police officers and firefighters. The attorneys in our Trusts and Estates practice group are able to meet with you to discuss and complete your estate planning, while observing social distancing protocols through the use of telephone and video conferencing technology. There are numerous options available to supervise proper execution of documents including remote witnessing and notarization protocols which have been permitted by recent executive orders issued by Governor Cuomo.
The following documents should be considered in every estate plan:
- Last Will and Testament. A Will allows you to determine how and to whom your estate assets will be distributed, and to select who will administer your estate and carry out your wishes. A Will also may provide for the guardianship of any minor children you may have at your passing.
- Trusts. Various types of trusts can be implemented, in addition to or in lieu of a Will. Trusts confer numerous benefits including estate tax savings, asset protection, avoidance of probate, maintenance of privacy, and the protection of disabled loved ones.
- Power of Attorney. This document appoints agent(s) to manage your financial affairs if you are unable to do so.
- Health Care Proxy. This document appoints agent(s) empowered to make medical decisions, including decisions about end of life care, if you become unable to make them yourself.
- Living Will. This provides specific instructions to your Health Care agent regarding end-of-life medical decisions.
- Standby Guardian Designation. This document permits individuals who work in health care facilities or who reasonably believe that they may be otherwise exposed to COVID-19 to appoint individuals who will have custody and legal decision making authority for their minor children, in the event of their death or incapacity.
Our attorneys are ready to assist you or your loved ones to implement or update your estate planning documents while many other aspects of our lives are on pause. If you need assistance, please contact (i) Nancy Rudolph at firstname.lastname@example.org, (ii) Frances M. Pantaleo at email@example.com, or (iii) James Ausili at firstname.lastname@example.org. These unprecedented times present other unique estate planning opportunities, which we will discuss in future client alerts. In the meantime, we hope you and your loved ones stay safe and well.