Coronavirus and Virtual Estate Planning

Whether the coronavirus pandemic has you worried about your future or spending your downtime being productive, it has certainly inspired widespread changes including highlighting the need for estate planning. People are thinking about what would happen to them, loved ones, pets, and their assets if they ended up in the hospital or passed away suddenly. While I don’t want to emphasize the fear behind that, I do want to help people get their estate plans in place.

  1. If you don’t have a plan, write your wishes out by hand.

This is the quickest and easiest way to do some planning right now. This is especially important if you are:

  • An unmarried couple,
  • A married couple with children from a prior relationship,
  • Or, if your beneficiaries are not legal relatives.

I recently worked with a widow whose house was in her deceased husband’s name. He had children from a prior relationship, so–even though she was married to him–the house will be split between her and the children. If he intended for the entire house to be left to his wife, he needed to put that in writing.

It’s as simple as writing out your wishes on paper, signing it, dating it, and keeping the original in a safe place. If you want a more comprehensive plan or need help with documents like a medical power of attorney and living will, Dana and Associates can work with you virtually. You can have an estate plan customized for you 100% from the safety and comfort of your home.

  1. You don’t have to wait until things return to normal to hire an estate planning attorney.

Coronavirus has highlighted that technology gives us all the tools we need to meet electronically. More people are connecting on Zoom and FaceTime, and we can also do business that way! Our initial video meeting, the free personal family legal session, is actually just as effective, if not more, than an in-person meeting. You fill out a personal inventory sheet before the meeting, and we do a screen share to look at that together just like we would in real life. Then, we have resources with diagrams illustrating the most common questions from what is an estate and what is a will or trust to covering power of attorney and probate. This allows us to have a conversation on whatever your specific questions are, and we design your plan together right on the computer screen.

  1. Don’t be scared of a video meeting.

Whether it is with us or another business you are communicating with virtually, don’t be afraid of virtual meetings. It doesn’t require any special knowledge or equipment. You can use any smartphone, tablet, or computer with a built-in camera. For our meeting, we email you a link and all you have to do is click the link. You don’t have to download anything. I share my screen and let you see the documents and materials, just like we’re meeting in the same room but better because you’re at home, safe and healthy.

  1. Virtual meetings are here to stay, and that’s a good thing.

Coronavirus has forced us to adapt and evolve by working digitally. Even when people are allowed to leave their houses again, our process is still improved. If you are too busy, have mobility issues, or just can’t make an in-person meeting, you will always be able to take a virtual meeting. I see that as a good thing, as we’re all expanding our horizons to do business and connect in new ways.

  1. Electronic notarization is legal in Arizona as of April 10th.

We’re at a special time in history, as another law that is changing is electronic notaries. Arizona was scheduled to have this become effective in July, but Governor Ducey moved it up to April 10th due to the need to handle business while staying home. I have already spoken to mobile notaries and am working on incorporating that in our estate planning process.

All of this change that we’re dealing with, it’s bringing in the information age. Robert Kyosaki, author of “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”, has shared that coronavirus is ushering out the industrial age and we’re entering the information age. You can rest assured that the whole team at Dana and Associates is here for you through it all.