Where There's a Will, There's a Way: COVID-19 Estate Planning

Updated: Jan 17, 2021

Spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, mortality seems to be on everyone's mind. During these uncertain times, it's natural for people to start thinking about whether they have their affairs in order and if their loved ones are protected if something happens to them. Surprisingly, 68% of people do not have a will or other important estate planning documents.

Estate planning documents allow you to answer the following questions: Who gets my property or money if I die? Who will be responsible for making sure my assets are distributed in accordance to my wishes? If I have minor children, who will act as their legal guardian? If I am on life support, who is going to make medical decisions or me? If I am on life support, who is going to take care of my financial affairs?

In order to address these questions, we recommend you have the following estate planning documents created:

1- Last Will and Testament

2- Durable Power of Attorney

3- Medical Power of Attorney

4- Medical Directive

5- Guardian Designation

6- HIPAA Authorization

Governor Abbott loosened requirements for a notary to acknowledge some estate planning documents in response to social distancing. A notary public can now verify the identity of a person signing a document at the time the signature is done by using two-way video and audio conference technology (aka via Zoom). The document can then be emailed to the notary, who may notarize the transmitted copy, then return it. This is document dependent.

Our estate planning process is as follows:

1- Call us at 903-347-3060 and let us know you would like to have an estate planning package drafted.

2- We will email you our Engagement Agreement and corresponding Invoice for the work you are requesting to be done.

3- Sign the Engagement Agreement and pay the Invoice electronically.

4- Send the signed Engagement Agreement back to us by email.

5- Once the Engagement Agreement and payment is received, we will send you an Estate Planning Questionnaire requesting information about your assets, who you want to leave your assets to, who you want to be responsible for distributing your assets, etc.

6- Email the Estate Planning Questionnaire back to us.

7- After reviewing the Questionnaire, we will set up a meeting with Mrs. Hammond to make sure everyone is on the same page.

8- Mrs. Hammond will draft the documents. Once drafted, she will send them to you by email for your review.

9- Once documents are approved by you, we will set up a meeting for the execution of the documents.

10- We will execute the documents via Zoom, when possible, or in person if a will is included. *A will must be signed in person.* You will have to be present along with two disinterested witnesses. If signed via Zoom, you can either email the documents back to us or mail them.

11- Once received, our notary will notarize all documents if signed via Zoom. A copy of fully executed documents will be sent to you via email, and the originals will be mailed to you along with an end of engagement letter.

If there is anything our firm can help you with, please do not hesitate to call us at 903-347-3060. We look forward to working with you!

Statistic from https://www.caring.com/caregivers/estate-planning/wills-survey

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