Home & Family
COVID-19 changed the way people live by causing routine life to come to a halt on a global scale. The result is that many individuals are working and receiving online education from home. This crisis not only positions people to spend more time with their families but also to take care of unfinished business that affects personal lives.
Why Create an Estate Plan?
Many people put off or overlook an important aspect of life: estate planning. Estate planning involves organizing your affairs and creating a comprehensive plan for the transfer of property. Estate planning allows you to let others know your wishes now and after death.
You also have a chance to make decisions, such as who will receive your estate (or the things you own), and what medical procedures you do or do not prefer when you are unable to speak for yourself.
Reasons for creating an estate plan:
- Ensure that your property will be transferred to a designated person
- Avoid confusion and disputes among family members
- Reduce taxes
- Make decisions regarding life-sustaining medical care
- Name a person you would like to take care of your dependent children
How to Get Started
To make good use of the time you now have, start planning by virtually sitting with your family members, attorney, and insurance agent to create the following documents:
- Will: A legal written document that gives instructions as to what person(s) will inherit your property and who should care for your dependent children. It can also provide instructions for valuables you want to pass on to your children as well as funeral arrangements.
- Trust: A legal document that also provides instructions for distribution and administration of property. A trust is private, whereas a will becomes a public record (public information) once filed in probate court.
- Advance health care directive: A legal document, often called a living will, which allows you to make advance decisions in the event of a medical crisis or end-of-life care. The directive goes into effect only if you are incapacitated and unable to speak for yourself.
- Power of attorney: A legal document that lets someone name another person to act on your behalf.
- Life insurance: A form of protection from financial loss that grants a designated person(s) cash benefits in the event of the policyholder’s death.
As people continue to practice caution to reduce the rapid spread of COVID-19, what better time than now to develop an estate plan. It’s not too early to protect your loved ones and to ensure that your affairs are in order.
Contact your county Extension office or Dorothy Brandon at (256) 337-5458 for more information on estate planning.