COVID-19

Has The Coronavirus Changed the Need for Estate Planning?

The coronavirus pandemic has not changed the need for estate planning. In fact, it has made estate planning all the more necessary. While it is never a bad time to get the peace of mind you need by planning for your, and your family’s, future, the current pandemic makes it clear that good planning is the smart and necessary thing to do.  

Even though we are in the middle of the pandemic, it is not too late to get started with an estate plan. In this article, we will cover the main things you need to think about with regard to estate planning in general, and then we will discuss how you can achieve effective estate planning during the COVID-19 crisis.    

At Doane & Doane, PA, we are passionate about giving our clients the personalized legal counsel they need to appropriately take care of many major life and death decisions, whether it is a power of attorney or decision on future child support

In that vein, to make things easier for you, we welcome you to consider contacting us at Doane & Doane, PA for estate planning advice and services. You can contact us today at 561-656-0200 or fill out our online contact form.

Estate Planning is Not Only About Drafting a Last Will and Testament

Many people associate estate planning with solely planning someone’s affairs after their death. That is, however, only a part of the estate planning picture.  

Estate planning is vital for laying out important decisions that you need to make while you are still alive too. That is why contacting an experienced estate planning lawyer is important. A quality estate planning lawyer can help you predict your future needs, and make sure that you consider possible contingencies before they become problems down the road. Ultimately, that will save you and your family time, money, and unnecessary stress when those challenging moments in life inevitably appear.  

Thus, estate planning is not just about making a will. Rather, it is about ensuring that people know what to do in the event something happens to you while you are alive or upon your passing. Such issues include instructions on:

1. Medical care,
2. Preferences on choosing a guardian,
3. Providing future child support for minor children,
4. Providing future support for a spouse, and
5. Placing responsibility on the right people for financial matters, child care, and legal decisions.

What Types of Documents, Then, Are Important for Estate Planning?

There are a number of standard documents that are part of a solid estate plan. Some documents are fairly clear, others may require some assistance from physicians, mental health experts, or an accountant. Here are the main documents used for most estate planning matters:

1. Power of attorney. A power of attorney gives another person the authority to conduct certain affairs on your behalf. Further, a durable power of attorney is a way for you to give a person authority over your affairs if you become incapacitated.
2. The medical power of attorney. This document gives another person the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf.
3. Designation of Guardianship. This document indicates to courts and others your wishes with regard to who should serve as your guardian if you become incapacitated.
4. Do Not Resuscitate (DNR). This medical directive explains to medical professionals whether and what types of extraordinary means can be used to keep you alive in the event that you are critically ill.
5. Last Will and Testament. As you likely know, a will is a document that instructs others on how you wish your estate to be distributed at death.

Estate Planning During the Pandemic

The pandemic has made estate planning in some ways more difficult, and in some ways a little easier. It is more difficult because many probate courts are closed or cannot handle the normal volume of cases. Moreover, estate planning attorneys are dealing with an increased volume of cases because the pandemic has either resulted in the unexpected death of a loved one or resulted in more people seeking services in general.  

Another issue is access to records. Because many people need to shelter at home, it might be harder for businesses, including estate planning law firms to get access to medical, legal, and other documents.  

On the positive side, estate planning services can be provided remotely, by email, by video chat, and by phone. Thus, taking care of your estate planning now is completely consistent with social distancing. Further, estate planning attorneys will be able to guide on how to execute certain important documents while still being able to stay six feet apart.  

Look to Doane & Doane for Help with Estate Planning During the COVID-19 Crisis

Founded in 2003 by husband and wife legal team, Randell C. Doane and Rebecca G. Doane, Doane & Doane provides legal and financial services to families, individuals, and businesses throughout Southeast Florida.

Estate planning is about much more than just giving away property. It is an act of love and kindness, with the ultimate goal of providing for the future financial security of your loved one. At Doane & Doane, our Wills and Trusts Attorneys West Palm Beach help people plan for retirement, make provisions for loved ones, figure out future child support, and minimize tax liability. Experienced wills and trusts attorneys know which tools to use to get the best results for their clients. Our lawyers can help you determine which tools are best suited to your specific circumstances.

When it comes to probate matters, such as the formal administration of an estate, Florida fiduciaries seek the assistance of the attorneys at Doane & Doane, P.A. to administer and manage their trusts and estates. Notably, the founding partners of Doane & Doane are board-certified West Palm Beach Probate Attorneys. With the additional advantage of certified public accountancy in their backgrounds, they present a unique combination of skills and experience which enables them to effectively settle, administer, and manage clients’ trust and estates.

We know that overseeing an estate can be a time-consuming and complicated process. We help clients every step of the way.  Our probate administrative services include:

1. Proving in court that a deceased person’s will is valid
2. Identifying and inventorying the deceased person’s property
3. Property appraisal
4. Supervising and arranging the estate’s debts and taxes
5. Distributing property as directed by a will
6. Transferring title and ownership of assets to the proper beneficiaries

The personal representative, executor, or executrix must follow Florida law to conclude the decedent’s affairs, including:

1. Giving the proper notices to proper parties
2. Collecting the decedent’s property
3. Receiving claims against the estate
4. Paying valid claims and disputing others
5. Distributing estate property according to the will or state law
6. Selling estate property to cover debts or allow for proper distribution, if necessary

Call us at Doane & Doane, P.A., to help you if you are faced with a probate matter, or if you would like estate planning services in Florida.  You can reach us at 561-656-0200. Call us today.