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Estate Planning in the Time of Coronavirus

The coronavirus has swept through Kentucky and Ohio just as it has the rest of the nation. As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has risen, along with the death toll, more people may be thinking about long-term medical care and how their assets will be distributed if they pass away. The quarantine period is perhaps a good time to get the right estate planning documents in place to express your wishes and instructions should something happen to you.

If you’re interested in creating or modifying your estate plan during the COVID-19 pandemic, these actions are worth considering:

  • Get a living will in place — A living will, also known as an advance directive, lets you explain your wishes regarding life-prolonging measures to be taken in defined circumstances. You can also name a health care surrogate (in Kentucky) or health care power of attorney (in Ohio) who will make decisions for you if you cannot make them for yourself.
  • Create a power of attorney — Giving someone power of attorney allows that person to pay your bills and otherwise manage your financial affairs in case COVID-19 or any other health issue leaves you unable to do so.
  • Review beneficiaries — Certain assets, such as bank accounts, IRAs, 401ks and insurance proceeds, are distributed to named beneficiaries in set circumstances. It’s important to review the account documents to make sure the beneficiaries you’ve listed are still the ones you want to receive funds.
  • Create a will or trust — Wills are the foundation of most estate plans, making sure that your property passes to your intended beneficiaries. Trusts can be used to manage and transfer assets during your lifetime and after death.

Most estate planning attorneys, including ours, are currently working remotely to maintain social distancing and keep clients and staff safe. We can have discussions on a video conference or over the phone. Documents can be emailed or sent through a delivery service so you can review and sign them without having to come to an office. In addition, Kentucky and Ohio are both on the list of states that allow wills and trusts to be notarized remotely, using electronic instead of in-person signing and attestation.

The estate planning lawyers of Hemmer DeFrank Wessels PLLC are available to help you during the COVID-19 crisis. Please call 859-344-1188 or contact us online and we would be happy to arrange a phone call, video conference or other method to help you get your estate plan in order.

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  • Fort Mitchell Office
    250 Grandview Drive
    Suite 500
    Fort Mitchell, Kentucky 41017
    Phone: 859-344-1188
    Fax: 859-578-3869