Since 2020, as the Coronavirus had spread across the USA at an accelerating rate, American people have encountered unimaginable situations. Every day brought further closures, cancellations, and quarantines that affected us all and are still present. Businesses and schools were shut down, sporting activities were canceled at all levels and travel restrictions were enforced.
Above all, a large number of our loved ones left this world unexpectedly. These moments of instability often serve as a strong reminder of the significance of getting a well-considered estate plan. It is imperative to assess your assets and intentions to ensure you have an estate plan that aligns with your wishes, especially if you are part of the high-risk demographic vulnerable to adverse outcomes from being infected with the coronavirus.
Estate Planning Tools to Review and Check during the Pandemic
During the pandemic, there may be several questions crossing your mind such as:
- Who will make my medical decisions if I do not have the capacity?
- Who will receive my estate after my death?
To stop stressing out and to answer all your questions, we explain what you need to do during these unprecedented times.
- Beneficiary Designations
In Florida, assets titled on your individual name move through probate court without a beneficiary designation. Assets like bank accounts, IRAs, life insurance, and annuities, upon your death, can designate a beneficiary.
When the beneficiary is properly updated, your beneficiary will obtain the funds from those accounts directly upon your death, unless you designate your Florida revocable living trust as your beneficiary or your estate if you fail to designate a beneficiary or if your beneficiary has predeceased you.
- Health Care Surrogate
The healthcare surrogate enables you to assign a surrogate to make decisions about your health on your behalf as well as obtain information from your doctors about health care. Did you designate a loved one as your surrogate to help you with the unfortunate coronavirus-infected event yet? If not, now is the time to do this.
It is essential to have a surrogate who can make health decisions on your behalf, especially if treatment is needed or just to be able to interact with doctors and the hospital about your health and treatment in general.
- Florida Revocable Living Trust
Do you have a Revocable Trust? If you have one, when was the last time you reviewed it? Do you need to update your beneficiaries and how the property will be received by them? Will they receive the property of the trust outright or in trust? Are the beneficiaries minors or adults? As it relates to your estate plan, the answer to each of these questions can impact your intent.
It is notably important to review your revocable living trust in Florida when you have small children. In Florida, if a child receives an inheritance of over $15,000 a guardianship of the property will be needed for the minor child.
- Florida Last Will and Testament
Now seems to be the best time to check your last will and testament to Florida or form a new one if you don’t have it. Holographic wills are not recognized by Florida. You must sign a last will and testament to be legitimate in Florida in front of two witnesses, all in the presence of one another.
- Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney will help you to empower someone you can rely on to make important decisions in your life. These decisions can be simple ones like communicating with a company or more complicated ones like financial institutions, real estate, and legal issues.
Should I hire a Florida Estate Planning Attorney during the pandemic?
Estate planning during the pandemic can be complicated which is why you need to consult with an Estate Planning Attorney to see if you have a concrete and proper estate plan in hand.