ALSO PUBLISHED TO MEDIUM
Chaos strikes… with a huge elephant in the room and a topic, very few people will so casually address. COVID-19 will ultimately take casualties, and the global pandemic continues to spread
Those closest to us will be taken overnight.
Social distancing will keep us apart. Death could make it permanent.
We are unable to see loved ones dying in ICU. Hospices and nursing homes are becoming closed-door. We want to protect those with an already compromised immune system. So, a mandate has been made to keep us away. That last kiss or hug could have easily become our last. We’re all at risk, but we’re not all being tested.
And, then, it’s too late.
In 2017, AARP reported that a “whopping 78 percent of millennials (ages 18–36) and 64 percent of Generation Xers (ages 37–52) do not have a will” and that “81 percent of those age 72 or older and 58 percent of boomers (ages 53–71) do, in fact, have estate-planning documents.” With people of all ages contracting and dying from the coronavirus — and averages ranging between 44 and 55 on any given week — this is a major cause for concern.
With something so unexpected, many of us have not prepared for the worst that can come. And even if we already have, we might not have updated our plans to reflect our current situations.
How will you be laid to rest? Who will get what? Did you have any last words that you wanted to leave behind?
Perhaps we got a new house, or we started a new relationship. We may have won the lottery — or we lost it all suddenly. No matter what changes life has brought our way, we really need to plan for the untimely. And, we need to do it before it’s too late.
Before the global shutdown, will-planning was often considered taboo.
It was bad luck to talk about, and no one wanted to think about the negative thoughts that came with it. They never got around to it. Or, they thought they always had time. But, turmoil and destruction have a sneaky way of finding an “in” to places, where they could have otherwise been avoided.
Wills and estate planning are very necessary — even when we have a traditional family dynamic.
Wills and estates are hard enough to manage when it comes to a traditional family unit. Families will implode, and loved ones will be left out. Now, add a few stepchildren, girlfriends, cousins, best friends, and associates to the mix. With extended families and non-traditional living arrangements, the narrative gets even worse. We need to name our heirs and a trustworthy party to execute our wishes. If they meant something to us in life, we need to protect their interests in death.
There will be some, who feel entitled to our things — and of course, others who feel they don’t deserve it. Arrangements need to be carried out need to be in writing. This includes funeral planning, administrative duty and what should be done with the unwanted pile of unpaid bills and debts. We may want to be buried one way, but someone may have other plans for our afterlife.
In the case of no heirs, the government will make that decision, take what is due them and auction off the rest. Minor children could become ward to the state or end up in the hands of those that we wouldn’t even let visit.
While this might be an uneasy topic, it needs to be addressed.
What do you do when pets will outlive you? Is there someone that will love them and treat them as if they were their own? What will be done with the safe haven you built for your family? Isn’t it more than just a home? And, what about the wedding ring previously left to you by your great grandmother? Does anyone even know where it came from or what it was so important to you?
According to FindLaw, there are ten major reasons why will and estate-planning are necessary:
- Deciding how your estate will be distributed
- Deciding who will take care of your minor children
- Helping your survivors avoid a lengthy probate process
- Minimizing estate taxes
- Deciding who will wind up the affairs of your estate
- Disinheriting individuals who would otherwise stand to inherit
- Making gifts and donations… sometimes tax-free
- Avoiding greater legal challenges
- Changing your mind if your life circumstances change
- Tomorrow is just not promised
There’s a short supply of nurses and doctors across North America.
For years, we have predicted the impending healthcare crisis. Our hospitals would be shorthanded and shifts understaffed.
Our healthcare workers are at the frontlines of this virus, willfully participating and taking on the greatest level of risk. They’re working with inadequate equipment and limited protective gear in the ongoing battle against COVID-19. They are our heroes and they deserve our appreciation. They deserve our respect.
Modernizing trust and estate planning by protecting family legacies, one click at a time
Together, both Trust & Will and Canada’s Willful, leaders in Online estate planning, are providing free will and estate planning services to healthcare professionals across the United States and Canada. Healthcare workers will receive a free will-based estate planning kit for themselves, which includes vital healthcare documents, HIPAA authorizations and a Medical Power of Attorney — which is very important, should you wish for someone else to speak on your behalf.
“As husband to someone who works in a hospital, it hits close to home seeing the risk that healthcare professionals are putting themselves in every day, especially during these uncertain times,” says Cody Barbo, Founder, and CEO of Trust & Will. “The last thing we want weighing down on these heroes is whether they and their families are protected with an estate plan. Our goal is to help alleviate some of that worry.”
In order to provide a bit of peace of mind for individuals working on the frontlines, these companies are offering customizable documents that can be printed out immediately and left at home for someone to find.
“We’re a proud partner of Trust & Will, and our teams are closely aligned on the mission to protect Canadian and American families and give them peace of mind through creating their estate plans,” said Erin Bury, co-founder & CEO at Willful. Both companies are proud of this initiative to help healthcare workers create a plan for their loved ones — this is our small way to say thank you for their incredible efforts during the COVID outbreak.”
The reality, reiterated
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the volume of individuals seeking estate planning solutions, especially online, has more than doubled as the realization of the impact of the virus has come to head. These platforms have made it possible to make our last-minute preparations, even as businesses close down in the midst of this virus.
Everything is valid and can be done from where most convenient. Key items can be saved and edited much later. Time should never be an excuse when preparing for your future. Your will could be that one thing that keeps you breathing or that lays you to rest with dignity.
How to take advantage
If you are a healthcare professional in need of an estate plan, or for more information on Trust & Will, please visit http://trustandwill.com. For additional resources regarding COVID-19 and Estate Planning, visit https://trustandwill.com/learn/covid-19-estate-planning.