By Rory S. Morse, Esq.
The ongoing pandemic has moved estate planning up the “to-do” list; a process often deferred to more convenient times is now a priority for many families.
Even families with current estate plans are consulting their advisors. A quick review of your plan can ensure everything is in order; planning documents left forgotten rarely reflect your wishes. Our office is working harder than ever to make sure our clients families are cared-for.
Estate planning during quarantine has raised some challenges. It is not unusual for a client to name family members who live far away as the decision makers in their plan, such as the executor, trustee, power of attorney, or health care agent. This is usually not an issue – in an emergency, the person can travel. With the pandemic, travel may not be an option. Whom we choose as our decision makers is deeply personal; it must balance the practical with the ideal, and may involve a family member or a professional fiduciary. We help our clients with these challenging decisions.
Your decision maker may, of course, face tough choices, and we may not wish to put our close friends or family in this position. But don’t avoid planning because you don’t want to burden others; there are banks and private professionals who can act on your behalf if you are unable to do so on your own.
The challenges of naming our fiduciaries reminds us of how important personal community is, and how important it is to maintain our personal communities even in the face of stay at home orders. Reaching out to friends, distant family, or colleagues is important. The more people we can trust, the safer we are in our lives.
This process helps maintain our happiness and mental health; building community is good for the spirit and for estate planning. Don’t let time at home go to waste.
Happy community building!