The current situation, that has most Americans watching the news every day, is causing them to seriously contemplate their future securities, such as the families featured in this article. Those over 60, considered the most vulnerable, are realizing now might be the best time to get those important documents they know are so important, taken care of.
Bob Michaels is here to help. Bob is working with clients every day as they navigate these challenging times, and he highly recommends you reach out.
“Having a strong estate plan in place will help you know that your retirement will be protected, regardless of what life brings!”
Bob may not be doing public workshops currently, but he is available for free consultations by phone, virtually, or in person at his office in Tacoma. Click HERE to schedule your personal consultation to find out what You need to do to better prepare for your future during these challenging times.
What happens if you don’t have a Will?
While lawyers recommend having a written Will, if a person dies without one — the legal term is “intestate” — their property is distributed according to state law. Who gets what depends on their relationship to the deceased. Before coronavirus, most Americans did not bother with writing Wills. A recent study published in the journal Health Affairs revealed that only one in three U.S. adults, about 37%, had completed advance directives, including 29% with living wills.
Those with chronic illnesses were only slightly more likely to have completed advanced health care directives than healthy adults (38% versus 33%), the study found.
Retired FDNY firefighter Bryan Horan got through 9/11, a heart attack and lung problems, while his wife, Moira, beat breast cancer — all without ever getting around to writing a Will. However, the coronavirus pandemic made the couple finally start the paperwork.
“Seeing all the death on the news with this thing, we just looked at each other and said, ‘We gotta get our acts together and do something.’”
As the Horans filled out the paperwork for their Will, they realized the paperwork for the process had been sitting in their livingroom for years, just waiting for them to find the time to finish it.
“As we finished it, I felt a sense of relief. It’s morbid to think about, but it’s great to have it done.”
The Horans are like many families confronting their mortality amid the coronavirus pandemic, and while many estate planning attorneys have reported an uptick in Will-writing and other advance-planning inquiries, others note a decline among those who may need it most amid the pandemic: the elderly and those who are in care facilities.
Right now, the social workers and caseworkers who normally do referrals are focusing on urgent needs like ensuring seniors have access to food and are following safety protocols, which means it’s up to the rest of us to make sure they get the services they need.
If you know anyone who may be in need of these services, or have a loved one who is ill and may need advice, we want you to know we are here to help!
Bottom line: Everyone should have a Will, and as gruesome as it sounds, right now everyone should be thinking about what level of medical care or intervention they would want should they become incapacitated by COVID-19.
The older and more vulnerable you are, the more important it becomes to let your loved ones know what your wishes are.
Part of that advanced planning involves completing a health care proxy, a legal document that lets a person name someone else to make decisions about their medical care, including decisions about life-sustaining treatment, if they cannot speak for themselves.
A second document, a living will, allows a person to spell out their wishes about medical care in the event they are unable to make their own medical decisions. The living will is necessary if a person becomes terminally ill, unconscious or minimally conscious due to brain damage.
A power of attorney document allows a patient to share control of their finances and property with someone, called an “agent.” An agent is legally required to follow the directions of the patient, or to act in their best interest.
But for many the pandemic offers the push they needed to complete their end-of-life directives.
If you avoid making a plan it may feel like you are not accepting the reality of death, making it more likely you’ll ‘put it off.’ However, when something like this occurs, we reflect on our lives in a more focused way. It makes us more aware of how precious life can be, and how important those we love are to us.
Don’t wait. Now is the time. Contact Bob Michaels today for your FREE consultation.