Being homebound due to the coronavirus has many challenges. One potentially unexpected challenge is trying to figure out how to pass the time at home. One project that you may be interested in tackling is updating your estate plan.
Take advantage of the opportunity to first, find your existing estate planning documents (wills, trusts, durable powers of attorney, living wills and designations of health care surrogate). Second, review them and see if they still accurately express your wishes. Have your wishes for who would speak for you if you became incapacitated (durable power of attorney and designation of health care surrogate) changed? Has the person you want to be in charge of your will (personal representative or executor) or in charge of your trust (trustee) changed? Finally, do you need to update or change who you have named as your beneficiaries?
Another project is to make a list of your bank accounts, life insurance policies, IRA accounts and brokerage accounts etc. This list will be important if your durable power of attorney or your personal representative or trustee has to step in for you. Your life insurance policy isn’t going to help your beneficiaries if no one knows it exists or no one can find it in your filing system that only you understand.
Although you are at home, your attorney can still help you with your estate plan project. Many attorneys are still available to “meet” with you via telephone or even virtually through programs like Skype and Zoom to discuss your current estate plan and documents and the changes you may decide you wish to make to them. Just call their offices and set up these telephone or virtual appointments.
Having these telephone or virtual meetings with your attorney now will allow your attorney to begin updating your plan and your documents now so that when you are able to meet with your attorney in person again everything will be ready for you to sign.
In addition to helping you to pass the time, this “estate planning project at home” is an opportunity to use the time to take positive steps towards keeping your family safe.