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Idaho Estate Planning Coronavirus: Could Your Family go Forward Without You?

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

The Coronavirus has caused lots of fears and panic in our lives. When we look at it objectively some of the fear and panic is legitimate and some of it is unwarranted. For example, quarantining ourselves and making sure we keep a safe distance from others is helping control the virus. However, hoarding toilet paper really doesn’t help anyone. However, the number one thing we can learn from the Coronavirus is the importance of being adequately prepared. This simply means that we have a plan in place for ourselves individually, and for our family members and loved ones.

Having a well-thought-out plan is the heart and soul of what estate planning is all about. In fact, I often tell my clients that as an estate planning attorney, my job is to look down the road of the future, and figure out all the worst possible things that can happen to my client, and then help them create a plan that protects them from those worst things.

The purpose of today’s article is to simply answer the question, could your family go forward without you if something happened to you because of the Coronavirus or some other injury or illness. While it may not be a pleasant question to ask yourself, it is an important question to make sure you have an answer.

The good news is that at the Racine law office, we have been helping clients complete and create their own customized estate plans for over 70 years. We work with all kinds of people who have all kinds of family and loved ones, and who are in all kinds of circumstances. Because of our vast experience and knowledge, we consider ourselves the premier estate planning law firm in Idaho. We have helped numerous clients think about and create their own customized estate plans, and we are confident that we can help you too!

The starting place is to download our free Estate Planning Questionnaire. This document guides you in collecting and preparing the information you need to better understand your own circumstances. More importantly, the Questionnaire provides you with options depending on your circumstances that will help you protect yourself while you are alive and provide for your family members and loved ones after you pass away.

We also offer a free 30-minute consultation to answer your questions and go over the information you provided in the Estate Planning Questionnaire. Because of the Coronavirus, we are currently doing these consultations by phone or by video conference depending on what our clients prefer. During this free 30-minute consultation we answer your questions, talk with you about the options available to you, and help you determine what needs you have for yourself, your family and your loved ones.

Life Insurance

One of the first things we talk about is life insurance. If you were to pass away, could your family go forward without you financially? Most parents provide financially for their children and other family members. Because of this, having some level of life insurance is a fantastic protection for your family and loved ones.

The reality is the worst thing that could happen to you and your family is you passing away. The purpose of life insurance is to provide some financial stability to your family at least for the short-term, and possibly for longer than that depending on how much life insurance you have.

Estate Planning

After life insurance, the next most important thing is that you want to make sure you have in place is at least a basic estate plan. This would include a last will and testament, a durable power of attorney for property and finances, a living will, and a power of attorney for health care. Each of these documents plays an important role in your estate planning to protect you while you are alive and to provide for your family and loved ones after you pass away.

There are many articles on this website that describe each of these documents individually and what it is they can do for you. We encourage you to click the other links on our website and to learn more about each of these specific documents.

Once you have your estate planning in place, then it is important for you to make sure that it stays updated. This has never been truer than now during this Coronavirus pandemic, which has affected everyone in the world. If something happens to a person that you have named or listed in your estate planning documents to do something for you or your family, you need to make sure that you have alternate people named who can step in if the first person you’ve chosen cannot do it.

We’ve helped thousands of clients update their estate plans to make sure they are current and that they meet the individual and specific needs of each of our clients. So, if you have an estate plan, pull it out and look it over and make sure that it still does for you what you need. If it doesn’t, it will be obvious that you need to make a change. If a change is needed, we encourage you to contact us so that we can help you get it done.

Your Digital Property

Again, the focus of this article is whether your family could carry on without you. This brings us to the next most important area that you need to be aware of which is your digital property. What is digital property? Really it is anything you have online that requires a password.

Does your family know what all of your digital property is? If they do, does your family have the ability to access your digital property. In other words, have you provided them with your username and password for each item of digital property that you own? If not, consider making a handwritten list of all this information that you can provide to your family members.

It really doesn’t do you any good to have digital property if no knows about it or if no one can access it after you pass away. You would be surprised at the large number of people who pass away and have never provided any information to their family members or loved ones about their digital property.

So, could your family carry on without you if something happened to you during this Coronavirus? If the answer is no, or if you have questions or concerns about whether your family could, please contact us immediately. We would be happy to assist you in either creating or updating your estate plan so that it meets all of your individual and current needs.

ENLIST AN IDAHO ESTATE PLANNING ATTORNEY TO HELP YOU

Our team of Idaho lawyers can help you with any of your estate planning or probate needs. Whether you are seeking to create or review an estate plan for yourself or would like to help a loved one, we are available to discuss your options and answer your questions at an initial free 30-minute consultation. Call us toll free at 877.232.6101 or 208.232.6101 for a free consultation. You can also email us directly at lane@racineolson.com or stop by our office at 201 East Center Street, Pocatello, Idaho 83201. We will answer your questions and help you solve your Idaho Estate Planning problems.

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