The Coronavirus outbreak has made life difficult for many people in America. It’s a scary time. The economy is fragile, and the health of your loved ones is a primary concern. We hope that you and your loved ones are safe, secure, and healthy.
Estate planning has become a hot-button issue since the Coronavirus crisis began. If you were procrastinating about preparing a will before the pandemic started, you might worry that consulting with an attorney is impossible right now.
The attorneys at Neale & Newman are still able to help you. We may be communicating with clients from our homes during the stay-at-home order in Springfield. But we can still help you with your estate planning.
In today’s blog from Neale & Newman, we outline five main issues to consider for estate planning amid the Coronavirus outbreak.
1. Advanced Health Care Directives
An advanced health care directive outlines your instructions for medical treatment in the event you become incapacitated, including the use of life-support systems, do not resuscitate orders, and your personal preferences about specific medical procedures.
Your advanced health care directive may include a durable power of attorney for health care document. This document designates who can make decisions on your behalf should you be unable to communicate with your doctor.
A will is probably the first thing you think of when you go over the details of your estate planning. Wills outline how your financial assets and personal possessions are distributed after your death.
Creating a trust means you designate a trustee to handle your affairs while you’re still alive. A trustee is literally someone you would trust everything to, usually a close family member, who can manage your assets, health care directives, and any legal decisions made on your behalf. Having a trust avoids probate issues altogether, which means your estate may avoid being tied up in court for years.
4. HIPAA and Patient Privacy Laws
Any medical directives made on your behalf must comply with HIPAA and patient privacy laws. The attorneys at Neale & Newman follow all privacy rules and regulations when it comes to advanced health care directives and durable power of attorney for health care documents.
One issue facing estate planning attorneys in Missouri is notarization. Estate planning documents must be notarized, and some must have the signature of witnesses along with your own signature. A notary public, including our staff attorneys, sign legal documents to say that you, yourself, signed the document and that you were of sound mind and body when you signed it. A notary also verifies the signatures of the witnesses.
Missouri currently allows for remote notary services amid the Coronavirus outbreak. Gov. Parson signed an executive order on March 13. Certain conditions must be met for the remote notary to be valid. Rest assured, the attorneys at Neale & Newman can discuss this issue with you to navigate the process of your estate planning and any health care directives you want in place.
Estate Planning at Neale & Newman
Contact the estate planning attorneys at Neale & Newman for more information if you’re thinking about estate planning. We’ll talk to you over the phone, or through a computer or video chat, whichever you prefer. We can send you documents to look over. Every communication we have with you protects your privacy.
Our team hopes you and your loved ones are well during these trying times.