How COVID-19 Has Changed Estate Planning and The Need For It

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As we come to the end of 2020 and approach the new year, it is an opportunity to reflect on our current estate plan and consider what changes (if any) we need to make, to be sure our choices are followed and our loved ones will be fully protected if something happens to us.

Certainly 2020, with the pandemic, subsequent economic slowdown and the volatile presidential election, has caused many to have an increase in anxiety and stress. None of us have a crystal ball to predict the future, but with Gentreo we can prepare for it. Like insurance, an estate plan gives you and your loved ones peace of mind knowing that you are protected. 

To that end, review all your estate planning documents to make sure that they accurately reflect your current life circumstances. Have there been any changes in familial and loved ones’ relationships? Marriage? Divorce? Addiction issues? Birth? Death? New pet? Has a child reached the age of 18? (Adult children need their own estate planning documents). If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may want to update your estate planning documents to reflect the changed circumstance.  

It is also critically important that your Gentreo Digital Family Vault is updated with all of your pertinent information. The Vault cards are provided to guide you in organizing all the important documents and contact information that your chosen Gentreo Team members would need in an emergency. 

Remember, Gentreo is about more than creating your estate planning documents. Gentreo is your digital home base, where your loved ones go when an emergency strikes. This past year has taught us all that our lives can change in an instant, so we need to be fully prepared. Your protection is incomplete, for example, if your appointed health care agent does not know your treatment providers or medical conditions. Similarly, your agent (appointed in your Power of Attorney) also known as your “attorney in fact” is impeded in serving as your agent if they do not know where you do your banking or where you keep the other assets in your estate. In addition to having the documents, you want your fiduciaries (agents) to be able to quickly and easily do their jobs. You do not want to give them the authority to make decisions for you and then figuratively tie one hand behind their back, by not providing them with the necessary information. Remember to include digital assets and information.

If upon review, you need to change your documents, you will need to create new ones and follow the same procedure of having them witnessed and notarized. The good news is that many states have made allowances for the need for social distancing and have either permanently or temporarily allowed for remote online notarization (RON). Unfortunately, not all of those states have granted the same allowance for remote witnessing. So, it is important to make sure you follow the Gentreo instructions for each document. For more information about RON during COVID-19, please see our article.

The pandemic has highlighted the importance of having an up-to-date estate plan. Gentreo is here for you and your loved ones, so that everyone can be protected and have peace of mind in these stressful times.