One of the scariest results of a loved one with COVID is how quickly things can go from bad to worse. For many, with COVID restrictions at hospitals and medical facilities, they are unable to even see their loved ones in person. This can often leave a communication gap between generations. Younger victims of COVID have not considered an estate plan. Traditionally, people their age haven't even created wills, especially before they get married or have children. But as we see more and more young people getting sick, the importance of having your wishes in writing is becoming abundantly clear. Without estate planning documents, your loved ones can be left totally in the dark as to your finances and wishes. Even scarier, if you haven't put together healthcare documents, you may not even be able to choose who is the person who will be making major decisions for you if you end up getting sick.
Your Parents Are Too Young and Healthy
This has been the common thinking for far too many children. Our parents aren't as old as others. They are in good health. There's no need for a will for young parents like them. But COVID has taught us that it does not discriminate by age, people of any age can die from it. With a fast onset of symptoms, you may not even have the opportunity to talk to your parents in person about their wishes.
If you aren't sure if this is an issue for you and your family, can you answer these questions?
- Where are your parents' wills located?
- What banks do your parents bank at?
- Do your parents have credit cards?
- Who holds the mortgage on their home?
- How about their retirement accounts? Do you know where those are?
If you are like most people, you probably don't know the answers to all of these questions. It's actually one of the reasons I worked with my friend Tony, a financial advisor, to create a checklist of important information to keep in your desk. If you don't have an estate plan, it will at least give your loved ones an idea of the professionals to contact who may at least know where your assets are located.
What to Do If There's No Will
You can probably guess what an attorney will tell you to do if there's no will (hint: call an attorney). Can you make it through the probate court process of your local court system? Probably. Do you want to spend all that time and energy doing it all on your own? Probably not. What would take quite a bit of your time to research and navigate will likely take an attorney a much shorter amount of time. Depending on the size of the estate (the assets of the deceased), the fees can be very minimal or they can be extensive. But this is another thing that you likely won't know without first talking to an attorney.
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If you don't have an estate plan yet (or yours needs updating), let's set up a Legal Strategy Session to review the best options for you. Or, if you are faced with the same predicament as many others these days, trying to sort out a loved one's estate, we can also set up a Legal Strategy Session to help guide you through the process.