The COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread uncertainty in nearly every area of our lives. While it is perfectly natural to have some anxiety during this crisis, the new challenges we are facing also represent positive opportunities. You have the chance to turn feelings of uncertainty into peace of mind by creating or updating your estate plan to protect your loved ones and legacy.
Establishing an estate plan is important. If you don’t make the proper legal arrangements before your passing or incapacity, the state’s intestacy laws will take over, possibly resulting in the wrong people getting your assets, higher estate taxes, and a difficult court process for your family. With a strong estate plan, you can protect your loved ones from these issues both during and after the coronavirus crisis.
Estate Planning While at Home
Most of us in Minnesota are spending the majority of our time at home in the midst of shelter-in-place orders and safety concerns. While working remotely, you have probably glanced at the items on your to-do list that you are normally too busy to address. If estate planning is an item you have been putting off, or neglecting to add to your list, now is the perfect time to contact an estate planning lawyer and start securing your future.
Fortunately, most of the initial work needed to create an estate plan can be done remotely. The estate planning attorneys at Mullen & Guttman are fully equipped to provide services over the phone or through video conferencing. We can advise you throughout the process, and utilize phone, video, mail and limited socially distant meetings to coordinate the creation and execution of your estate plan. Although some states are expanding online signing options during the crisis, Minnesota currently still requires certain estate planning documents to be signed in person. However, it’s still a great time to take action and start the process of estate planning at home.
Involving Your Family in Estate Planning
Estate planning affects your entire family, and the current crisis offers an opportunity to communicate easily with family members and close friends. You may be quarantined with family, or simply have more time to have conversations virtually.
Take advantage of this unique situation to have personal discussions with the family and friends you would like to take care of you upon incapacity and to settle your estate when you pass. Being on the same page with your family members or trusted friends will allow you to have more productive discussions with an estate lawyer and get your estate plan off to a strong start.
Getting Started on an Estate Plan
The logical starting point in estate planning is either a will or a Living Trust. Wills give direction for the transferring of your assets, name guardians for your children, may establish trusts upon death, and more, through a court process called probate. A will may be a vital document in the estate planning process, protecting your family from uncertainty both now and in the future.
A Living Trust, sometimes referred to as a Revocable Living Trust, is another estate planning strategy that gives direction for controlling your assets upon incapacity and death. A major benefit of a Living Trust is that it can achieve many of the benefits of a will, typically without the need for the court’s involvement.
You’ll also want to plan for the possibility of you becoming incapacitated. Mullen & Guttman can help you set up a financial power of attorney and health care directive to manage your affairs in the event of incapacitation. A health care directive informs others of your preferred medical treatments should you become permanently unconscious or terminally ill.
These can all be challenging steps to take, even if events like the current crisis are motivating you to make difficult decisions. The estate planning lawyers at Mullen & Guttman have helped thousands of people through their estate plans, and will be there every step of the way to answer your questions and guide you through the process.
Secure Peace of Mind Working with Mullen & Guttman
Many people understandably put off estate planning while trying to make difficult personal and financial decisions. However, the ongoing coronavirus crisis offers a fantastic opportunity to make these decisions to the best of your ability and get started on an estate plan. Changes can always be made in the future, and you’ll be able to rest easy knowing that you’re protecting yourself and your loved ones in this uncertain time.
If you’re ready to cross an estate plan off your list, contact our Minneapolis-based estate planning attorneys today.