The Coronavirus pandemic has forced us all to face our fears in some way, whether it’s the fear of falling ill, losing a job or having to spend time alone. With all these anxieties, it might feel like there’s suddenly a pressing need to get your affairs in order. Thus, estate planning in the time of COVID-19 is crucial.
It can feel scary thinking about getting sick or not being able to make decisions for yourself, but an estate plan is meant to ease your fears. After all, wouldn’t you feel better knowing that the burden of making health and financial decisions will never fall on unprepared family members?
The truth is that just about everyone should have an estate plan, even if there is no looming health threat. So if you don’t have one, there’s no better time than now to put it together.
Though there are several websites that make it possible to draft a Will and estate planning documents for a low cost, it is important to keep in mind that estate planning can be complex, and it pays to have a lawyer review your plan. Aside from preparing documents and looking out for loose ends that need to be considered, a good estate planner will help with proper titling of assets such as real estate and vehicles, as well as designating beneficiaries for life insurance, retirement accounts and bank accounts. Since a good estate plan can save a lot of money, you should not pay as little as possible because mistakes can be costly. You should consider having a lawyer look at these items closely, especially if you have a large estate or are concerned that someone might try to contest your Will.
Another issue to keep in mind is that documents such as Wills and powers of attorney must be witnessed and notarized in order to be binding. That is a problem for self-helpers, as right now it can be dangerous to gather the necessary notary public and witnesses for an in-person execution of the documents. In fact, many notaries and law firms are closed due to shutdown orders.
Fortunately, many states like New York have recently enacted executive orders that allow for virtual notarization and witnessing of these documents. We at Velella & Basso are prepared to handle virtual notarization and to fulfill your estate planning needs during this unprecedented time. Call us today at (718) 931-1220 or schedule a free consultation online.
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