Coronavirus (COVID-19): Proactive Estate Planning Measures You Can Take at Home

Jackie Bedard
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Attorney, Author, and Founder of Carolina Family Estate Planning

Our office has assembled and is regularly updating a list of important local, state, and federal resources to help our clients and the community during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic. Click here to visit the Coronavirus Resource Center.

Looking for some proactive measures that you can take at home?

Locate your documents

If you have prior planning, locate the documents! You’d be surprised how often we hear from people that lost their documents—either because they forgot where they placed them or, perhaps they’re still in a box after a recent move. In the event of an emergency, you’ll want to have these documents readily available.

Review Your documents

Hardly a week goes by that we don’t meet with someone that has prior documents and is surprised at what they say when we review them. If your planning is 5, 10, 20 years old, think about your life—how much has changed during that time? Chances are, a lot has changed.

Your family may look different due to births, deaths, marriages, and divorces.

Your finances may look different due to opening/closing accounts, acquiring more assets or savings, receiving an inheritance or similar.

Your health may have changed.

Your goals and priorities may have changed.

Set Up a Personal Organizer

One of the biggest frustrations we hear from health care agents, powers of attorney, successor trustees, and executors is that when the time comes to do their job, they don’t have the information that they need to get started!

They don’t know where the accounts are located—especially in today’s world of online banking, this is a huge frustration point. They don’t know who to contact. Where are the insurance policies? What about online accounts?

Use this time at home to get your emergency documents and information in order.

Hold a Family Meeting

When we work with family members of a client (e.g., health care agents, powers of attorney, executors, or trustees), we frequently find that they are unprepared for their roles.

Their loved ones never reviewed or discussed the plan with them. Their loved one never talked to them about their health care wishes.

They don’t know where any of the applicable information is such as the documents, financial statements, and similar.

Since a lot of people are homebound currently, consider conducting a phone or video Family Meeting. If by video, you could even walk your loved ones through your  home and show them where any important documents and information is stored.

Attend Our Online Seminar

Our office has held public seminars for years that have been extremely popular. We’re taking our next seminar, 11 Threats to You, Your Family, and Your Assets, on Thursday, March 19th at 6:30 p.m. online! You can register here (Warning: As of writing this, the website still lists the location as at our office, but it’s not—it will be online). We’ll be sending out access information to all registrants prior to the event.

Work with Us Remotely

Now, more than ever, we're doubling down on our commitment to great planning and helping as many North Carolina residents as possible protect themselves and their families. 

Because several of the legal documents still require in-person signing by you, a notary public, and two adult witnesses that are unrelated to you or your beneficiaries, we plan to stay open for document signings as long as safely possible (see below for the safety precautions we're taking). 

We are ready and prepared to conduct 95% of the work with you by phone or video conference (i.e., everything except for the signing of the legal documents). We highly recommend the video conference as it allows us to use screen sharing capability to show you visual aids and review documents with you. Never conducted a video conference before? No worries! We have all of the necessary technology on our end to make it as easy as possible. We’ll send you access instructions and can help walk you through it by phone.

If you are local to our office, we will continue to conduct signing meetings at our office (again, see below for the safety precautions we're taking). If you are not local to our office, but you are a North Carolina resident, we can mail the documents to you with clear instructions for how to sign them and recommended safety measures to take while doing so and we can attend the signing by video to provide guidance regarding proper execution.

We'll be continuing to add more FAQs and Information on a regular basis. To receive updates, sign up for our special Coronavirus & Estate Planning Guide and all recipients will receive any update that we send out. Plus, we're working on some fun stuff too to help bring a bit of joy to an uncertain situation. Click HERE to sign up.

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