By Patrick J. Kelleher, Esq. ELDERLAWCARE.COM
There has been an explosion in the numbers of Americans rushing to make their wills online. Understandably, the coronavirus pandemic has created the scramble to set up wills and end-of-life-directives. However, online do-it-yourself (DIY) wills are often deemed invalid, as they do not comply with all of the legal requirements of your state.
According to Caring.com, the prevalence of will and estate planning has been on the decline since 2017, but this trend is quickly reversing itself with the advent of the coronavirus pandemic. So, who needs a will? Ask yourself if you care who gets your property or money if you die. If you do not take action to protect your assets and loved ones, who stands to benefit? If you have minor children, do you care who will act as their legal guardian? Anyone who is married, anyone with children, or anyone with assets needs a properly executed trust and will. Wills are governed by state law. Your will should reflect your wishes in the language and format required by the state in which you live in order for it to be valid.
Our Elder Law Care Team has been working diligently with our clients via Facetime and Zoom video calls to address social distancing protocols while still providing legal services, such as preparing trusts, wills and disability planning. The importance of a qualified elder law attorney guiding you through the process of creating your trust and will cannot be understated, as we understand the nuances of how things need to be written. Once your will is complete, it must be correctly notarized, as mistakes made in the will-signing process can potentially invalidate your will. Our Elder Law Care Team will guide you through the signing process so that you can protect what you have for the people you love the most.
Beyond the creation of a trust and will, many Americans are increasingly concerned about their powers of attorneys, health care surrogates, living wills, and end-of-life directives. These “life documents,” or as I coined, “The Big 6 Disability Planning,” as they are active while you are alive, are equally as important as your will. Your named personal representatives, successors, beneficiaries, and powers of attorneys should have several back-up representatives, as the mortality rate due to the coronavirus remains unknown.
According to research in a recent New York Times report, health care workers are more likely to contract COVID-19 than the average person. During this pandemic, many doctors and other medical professionals are rushing to have their wills drawn up. In addition to doctors, anyone on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19, from hospital custodians to nurses, to EMS responders, should either make a will, or review and possibly update their existing one. However, the truth is no matter what your profession or likelihood of contracting this virus, you should have a properly executed will during this time of considerable uncertainty.
There are few things you can act on during the COVID 19 pandemic that can bring you assurance and a sense of relief. The legal creation of your trust, will and your “Big 6″ Disability Planning” is an action you can take that protects you and your family. We can help. Visit our website www.elderlawcare.com and click the red “WATCH NOW” button to watch our new online educational elder law webinar. Watch now because it will entitle you to a $500 coupon to start the process of you protecting what you worked hard for, for the people you love the most.
To learn more, watch our next free educational virtual on-demand estate planning and elder law webinar at www.elderlawcare.com. Contact our friendly elder law care team at 781-871-7526 or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to register for the next webinar, because we fill up quickly.
Author. Patrick Kelleher is an author and Estate Planning and Elder Law attorney and founder of the Elder Law Care Learning Center in Hanover, Massachusetts. Patrick has been teaching free educational workshops for over 10 years at his center and in surrounding communities. Learn more at elderlawcare.com or follow Patrick Kelleher on Facebook because you will learn a lot! Offices in Hanover and Quincy.
You can find Patrick’s new book How to Avoid the Four Headed Monster of Estate Planning & Elder Law on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/How-Avoid-Four-Headed-Monster-Financial-ebook/dp/B084MB96SK
Reprinted from the May 2020 edition of the South Shore Senior News.