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Idaho Estate Planning Estate Planning Suggestions During Coronavirus Pandemic

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

Even without the Coronavirus, regular life still moves forward. This means that you and your family are faced with all the normal issues that arise in life in addition to all the new things that have come about because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

You may feel like your life is in turmoil because of the coronavirus alone. We understand how you feel. Our goal in this article is to give you suggestions of some things you can do with your estate planning during the coronavirus pandemic so that you and your family are organized and prepared for any circumstance that arises.

We encourage you to download our Estate Planning Questionnaire which is a simple document you can type into on your computer and save. Our clients tell us the Questionnaire made the process of gathering information simple and easy. Once this is done, we provide a free 30-minute consultation to discuss the information on the questionnaire and to answer questions about estate planning. Our goal is to help our clients understand the options and choices they have for their own estate plan.

We don’t charge for any of this because we want our clients to understand exactly how their estate plan will help them before they make any commitments to hire us. We encourage you to call us for this free 30-minute consultation.

The Basic Documents That You Should Have

The first suggestion that we can give you is that you should have at least a basic estate plan in place for yourself. A basic estate plan includes a last will and testament, a durable power of attorney, a living will, and a power of attorney for health care. You may also need to include a trust or a variety of trusts as part of your estate planning if you have young children, or a child with a disability, or a family member that you want to provide for and take care of without giving something directly to them.

With a basic estate plan in place, you have prepared yourself for just about any circumstance that can arise. For example, if you suddenly lose the ability to care for yourself either because of the coronavirus, or some other injury, illness, or complication, your durable power of attorney document will nominate someone who will be able to care for you and your property and finances until you are capable of caring for yourself again.

With your living will, you are able to provide end-of-life decisions for yourself so that these decisions don’t fall on the shoulders of your family members. For example, if because of an injury or illness you are placed on life support in a hospital, your living will provide specific instructions to your doctors about what you do want and what you do NOT want them to do. Through this document, you can simply tell your doctors that you want them to turn everything off and allow you to die normally and naturally. Alternatively, you can instruct your doctors to do everything possible to keep you alive as long as they can. The point is you are in control.

Through your last will and testament, you can create a plan that will include nominating guardians for young children, distributing your money, property, and other assets to the individuals that you choose, and possibly setting up a trust for your young children or other family members if it is needed.

Everyone should have at least a basic estate plan. Let me repeat that, everyone should have at least a basic estate plan, because doing so protects you while you are alive, and your family and loved ones after you pass away.

Organize Your Documents

The second suggestion that we can provide is that you organize your documents. Because you’re living a normal life, you are going to have a lot of documents. These will include life insurance, car insurance, and health insurance documents. It will also include deeds and titles to homes, vehicles, and other properties. You are going to have bank accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts including CDs, and so forth. Each of these accounts are going to be supported and evidenced by account statements, and other banking documents that you will receive.

Additionally, you will likely have bills. These could include credit cards, and internet, and phone bills. It will also likely include mortgage payment and car payments. You will also likely have utilities and other monthly bills that you pay. All of these documents and bills should be pulled together and organized in a location where your family members can find them.

If your documents are organized, then your family will have no trouble taking care of all the aspects of your life that you normally take care of yourself, if you are no longer able to do it. Additionally, when you pass away, your family will have all of these documents and will be able to take care of all these things. If these documents are not organized, your family still has to do all of these things, it’s just much harder for them to get it done.

Organize Your Digital Asset Information

The third suggestion has to do with your digital assets. In addition to having regular assets, you will likely also have many digital assets. These will include all of your email, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter accounts. In addition to these, many people nowadays have online or digital money accounts as well. These could include things such as PayPal, Venmo, peer-to-peer lending, investment accounts, banking accounts, and so forth. But this is not all. A person could actually have online businesses that exist, and they will likely also have accounts they use to buy or purchase things such as at Amazon, Walmart, or other online retailers.

The list doesn’t end here. You also will likely have certain accounts for streaming video, music, and other entertainment. These accounts are usually set up so that payments are made automatically for the credit card, or from some other account.

All of the digital assets that you have will need to be taken care of while you are alive if you cannot do it yourself, and, after your death. Unless you have all these things organized in a place where your family can find them and understand them, and log into them so they can access them, your family may have no idea that these assets even exist.

Yes, the coronavirus has impacted our lives greatly. This should be a wake-up call, and a warning to each of us of the importance of taking the steps mentioned in this article so that we are prepared and ready for any circumstance. We have helped numerous clients get prepared, and we are ready to help you too!

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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