COVID-19 Estate Planning: A Journey, Not a Destination

Estate Planning is a Journey, Not a Destination, Especially During COVID-19

A lot of people are contacting me because they are scared of COVID-19 and want to be prepared just in case. They come because they know they should act responsibly, but the problem that has kept them from making an appointment before continues to bother them: they don’t know what they want or it is too upsetting to even consider.

 

“Planning for your eventual demise or possible incapacity isn’t easy, especially when you don’t know the answers to questions such as how long you will live or how much help your children, spouse or other beneficiaries might need. These and other uncertainties can paralyze you from doing any estate planning, but it’s often best to get started, tackle what you can and make adjustments later,” writes Russ Wiles at azcentral.com this week.

 

In other words, estate planning is a journey and NOT a destination. As we move along in life we adjust and we should be prepared to adjust our plan accordingly while protecting ourselves in the now. Because if you don’t make some choices, the state of Arizona will choose for you. And (I say this tongue in cheek) if people liked the government making choices for them, I bet wearing a mask in public would not be as big of an issue as it seems to be these days.

 

Wiles suggests that folks, “designate beneficiaries to receive any assets held in retirement accounts, life insurance policies, bank accounts and so on.” Keep in mind that any designations made in bank or other financial accounts overrule wills and other documents, so be sure these are up to date. He also has some additional tips: “Consider life insurance to help children or a spouse cope with a possible loss of your job income, and make sure your deeds are titled properly. In Arizona and some other states, beneficiary deeds are one option homeowners can use to pass their properties at death, probate-free.” There are no wrong answers other than doing nothing at all to prepare for what is inevitable for us all.

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