In firm news, the Norton Pelt team is very excited to announce that we won the Best Law Firm Category in the 2023 Best of the Burg contest!   We'd like to extend a big thank you to our community for all of your support - this couldn't have been achieved without you. We look forward to continuing to provide excellent legal services to Fredericksburg and the Commonwealth.

Four Reasons Coronavirus Makes Estate Planning More Important Than Ever

These unprecedented times are scary for us all. Though the numbers are still out, it seems that while coronavirus is primarily life-threatening for the elderly and immunocompromised, it can also claim the lives of the young and the healthy. For many, this is a wakeup call. Between accidents and undetected medical issues, the young and seemingly healthy have never been death-proof, but the highly contagious nature of the coronavirus and the way it has swept the globe is forcing many to confront their mortality for the first time.

The truth is none of us know for sure how much time we have left. That is why it is so important to have an estate plan in place no matter your age or your situation in life. Today, we are looking at some of the reasons coronavirus has made estate planning more important than ever before.

1. Estate Planning allows you to make your wishes known in case you are ever incapacitated.

If you are on a ventilator, struggling for every breath, you probably are not going to be able to make  important decisions regarding your finances. With a durable power of attorney, you can grant a trusted person the authority to attend to these matters on your behalf. A durable healthcare power of attorney (also called an advance medical directive) allows a trusted person to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unconscious.

2. Your will or trust can make arrangements for your loved ones’ inheritances.

Most people want to have a say in who inherits the assets that they have worked hard to acquire over the course of their lives. If you do not have a will or trust  in place, your assets will be passed down to your heirs in accordance with intestate law without your input.  Want to donate some of your money to research that aims to prevent pandemics? You can do that with your will, too. 

3. Your estate plan will make things easier for those left behind.

Your estate plan should be designed to reduce the likelihood that your loved ones will have to go through the complicated and time consuming formal estate administration process often called probate.  The probate process often results in substantial fees and costs that can be reduced or eliminated by good estate planning. 

4. Your information will be readily available to only those who need it.

Imagine that you are in the hospital, struggling to recover from coronavirus, unable to communicate. Your utility bills at home are going unpaid. The hospital bills are piling up. What if none of your loved ones know your banking information? Your passwords? The usernames for your accounts with the electric company?  Careful estate planning can keep you and your loved ones from landing in this confusing and stressful predicament.

Are you ready to be proactive? If you do not have an estate plan at all, you need to sit down with an attorney to create one. If your plan has not been updated in the last three years, it’s time for a review. Our team is here to help. Give us a call today to learn how we can help you build an estate plan that is perfectly tailored to your unique needs and values. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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