Estate Planning: What Can I Do to Prepare for COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has brought much of the world to a halt. As of April 8th, the Florida Department of Health has already confirmed more than 16,000 cases in the state. Sadly, many more cases are expected to be confirmed in the coming days and weeks. During this time of overwhelming uncertainty many people have questions about their estate plan. Here are three steps that you can take right now to ensure that your estate plan effectively protects your needs.
Step 1: Review Your Last Will & Testament
As a starting point, you should take a minute to review your last will & testament. Make sure that it is fully updated to meet your current circumstances. If you do not have a will, it is a good time to begin the process of drafting one. Every adult should have a will in place—no matter your age, you are not too young for a will.
Not only does drafting a will help to ensure your estate is handled in accordance with your wishes, but a well-drafted document dramatically reduces the odds that your friends and family end up in conflict. No one wants to leave their loved ones with that additional stress. Of course, a will is not always the most effective or efficient way to leave assets to your loved one. In many cases, there are greater advantages to using alternative estate planning tools—such as a revocable living trust.
Step 2: Set Up a Power of Attorney
Do you have a financial power of attorney in place? If not, it is time to get one. A power of attorney is a relatively simple legal document that will give a trusted loved one the authority to make important legal and financial decisions on your behalf—assuming that you are no longer able to do so on your own.
Without a power of attorney, your family members will need to go through a much more challenging and cumbersome process in order to handle your affairs and protect your best interests. It puts you at risk. During the COVID-19 outbreak, make sure that your power of attorney documents are up to date.
Step 3: Consider Health Care Surrogacy and Medical Directives
Finally, you may want to consider appointing a health care surrogate and/or writing advance medical directives. In Florida, a health care surrogate is a trusted person who is empowered to make medical decisions on your behalf. It may or may not be the same person who holds your financial power of attorney. Should you fall severely ill after being exposed to the virus, your health care surrogate will have the power to deal directly with medical professionals.
Beyond a surrogate, you may want to draft medical directives. Indeed, if you have specific wishes regarding your own care—specifically end-of-life care—it is strongly recommended that you write an enforceable medical directive. Otherwise, those wishes may not be respected if you are not in a position to express them to the doctors.
Do You Need Help? Call Our Tampa, FL Estate Planning Lawyer Today
At Bubley & Bubley, P.A., our top-rated Tampa estate planning attorneys are compassionate, solutions-oriented advocates for clients. We will help you achieve peace and security for your loved ones. For confidential estate planning consultation, please contact our legal team immediately. We represent individuals and families throughout Hillsborough County, including in Town n’ Country, Riverview, Valrico. University, and Plant City.