Have you decided to create or update your estate plan during the coronavirus pandemic? You are not alone—many Americans are taking steps to protect themselves and their assets through estate planning during these uncertain times.
Estate Planning Checklist
Here is a quick checklist of important elements to include in your estate plan.
A living trust is important because it bypasses the probate process, saving your beneficiaries a significant amount of time and money. When creating a living trust, you also have the ability to name a successor trustee who can take over the management of your trust assets in the event of your death or incapacitation. During a pandemic, having someone who can step in to manage your assets is a significant benefit.
Wills can be used alongside living trusts to provide further information about your chosen heirs or beneficiaries. They are also important for naming an estate executor, also known as the personal representative. This person will manage your estate affairs and may or may not be the same person as your trustee. A will is also used for naming a guardian to watch over any minor children you may leave behind.
A healthcare proxy is also known as healthcare powers of attorney. It allows you to name an agent/proxy who can act on your behalf with regard to healthcare decisions. This person will be tasked with communicating with doctors and care providers to make sure your wishes are followed.
Living Will and Medical Directives
A living will contains instructions for your healthcare proxy and healthcare providers with regard to the kinds of care you do or do not wish to receive in certain circumstances. This document is crucial because otherwise your healthcare proxy is left to decide based only on what they think you would want in a situation, not based on what they know you would want, which would make for a situation and decision that would be much more stressful than necessary.
Durable Powers of Attorney
Durable powers of attorney allows your chosen agent to make certain financial and legal decisions and transactions on your behalf in the event of your incapacity.
HIPAA release forms authorize the release of private medical information to trusted loved ones to follow your care. It may also be necessary for your executor or trustee as they administer your estate.
These are just a few of the most crucial elements that should be included in any estate plan. As you take the time to plan your estate during the pandemic, make sure you talk to your attorney about your wishes and cover all of these elements to develop a strong, holistic plan that represents all of your needs and goals.
For more information, contact an experienced estate planning lawyer at Baker Law Group.
About Baker Law Group
If you are located in Massachusetts and need to update your plan, we would appreciate the opportunity to discuss it with you. Initial consultation is complimentary.
Baker Law Group specializes in Elder Law, Estate Planning and Estate Administration. View our attorney profiles.
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