If you haven’t gotten around to creating your estate plan, you’re in good company. According to one 2017 survey, nearly 6 out of every 10 American adults don’t have a will or end-of-life plan in place. But in the uncertain times of COVID-19, many people are now taking a hard look at their mortality and seeing the value of planning for the unexpected.
Fortunately, even amidst social-distancing orders, it isn’t too late to get your affairs in order. If you’re eager to use this moment as an opportunity to establish your final wishes, here are a few things you may want to include in your estate plan during the pandemic:
Advance health care directives
A question on just about everyone’s mind right now is “what happens if I get sick?” – especially if they fall into the high-risk category. An advance health care directive, sometimes called a health care proxy, allows you to designate someone to make health care decisions for you in the event you are unable to. It can also include your preferences for end-of-life care.
Financial power of attorney
A financial power of attorney is a handy document to have during a global crisis as it allows someone the authority to manage your finances and property on your behalf while you’re living. For example, if you became hospitalized with the coronavirus, you would likely need someone to ensure your bills are paid on time and manage other essential affairs that keep your life in order. A financial power of attorney will accomplish this.
Last will and testament
Most people are familiar with the basic concept of a will – it’s a legal document that coordinates how to distribute your assets in the event of your death. However, in addition to who-gets-what, a will also enables you to:
- Name an executor who will oversee the distribution of your assets
- Name legal guardians for any minor children
- Establish plans for your funeral and burial arrangements
- Set up care for your pet in the event you cannot provide it
Nebraska also allows “holographic wills,” or a will written in your own handwriting, even without a witness. You can create a valid will in a pinch as long as you sign and date the document yourself.
An estate plan can provide you and your loved ones with a sense of security in otherwise unpredictable times. Adding these documents to your estate portfolio will ensure your affairs are managed no matter what life throws your way.