Important Estate Planning Considerations During COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic

| Apr 22, 2020 | Estate Planning

The Governor of Florida recently declared a state of emergency to address the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic. The entire State of Florida is now subject to severe restrictions which affect our everyday lives. Many of us may find ourselves or our loved ones impacted by the COVID-19 virus and may face medical treatment or an emergency. It is more important than ever to have your estate plan instituted or updated. The following are some of the key documents you will need to deal with COVID-19 medical treatment or an emergency.

  1. Health Care Surrogate Designation. This is perhaps the most important document to have completed. The Health Care Surrogate is an adult designated by you to make healthcare decisions for you in the event you are unable to make the decisions for yourself.
  2. Durable Power of Attorney. The Durable Power of Attorney is a document which designates an adult to have full legal power and authority over all matters specified in the document. Careful drafting must be done to control what powers you want your durable power of attorney to exercise on your behalf.
  3. Living Will. A Living Will allows you to specify and designate your wishes for your end-of-life medical care and end-of-life decision. It is an important document to allow your family member to carry out your wishes without the burden of having to make the end-of-life decision on their own without your guidance.
  4. Last Will and Testament. The Last Will and Testament or simply the Will is a document we are all familiar with that specifies how you want your estate administered after your death, including how and to whom you want your assets distributed.
  5. Living Trust. A Living Trust or Revocable Trust is a more advanced estate planning document that can supplement or even replace your Will to administer your estate after your death. A Living Trust can make sure that your estate does not have to go through the probate process which can be expensive and time consuming.

Because of the restrictions many hospitals are placing on visitors to patients, it is important to have these documents in order and in the hands of your trusted persons before you are admitted for care.

It is important to remember that there are certain legal requirements involved in the signing of estate planning documents and most require two witnesses and a notary public.

Our firm is cognizant of social distancing guidelines and we can take various measures to have your documents properly signed in safe manner including:

  1. We offer consultations by phone, or by video conference, or in our office. Whichever you prefer. Payment for fees can be made over the phone by credit card.
  2. Our Staff can remain a distance of 6 feet or more from you during consultations and while you sign the documents in our office. Your signature must be witnessed and notarized but it can be witnessed and notarized from a safe distance.
  3. Our Staff can wear masks during all in office interactions with you at your request.
  4. If you prefer not to come into the office at all, we can provide your estate planning documents for you to execute at your own location. We will provide written instructions as to what legal requirements must be followed.

Please contact Matthew J. Monaghan for an estate planning consultation.