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COVID-19 Estate Planning

Many people have heard the above quote, which is proverb that dates back to the 1600s, and means that if someone is determined enough to do something, that he or she will find a way to accomplish it regardless of the obstacles faced. In today’s environment, it takes on a special meaning as it relates to putting in place a Last “Will” & Testament. As I sit here writing this, Connecticut, and much of the country, is operating on a limited basis. Most individuals who are still working are working from their homes, and limit their exposure to the outside world in the hopes of avoiding the COVID-19 virus. Everyone is advised to maintain physical distancing from others to minimize the possibility of transmission. Meanwhile, the news media is consumed with reporting on the number of infections and deaths attributed to the virus, and the measures being taken by our health care system and government to plan for a surge in individuals requiring medical intervention. Naturally, people are more immediately considering their own mortality, and what they would leave behind if they pass.

Fortunately, it isn’t too late to address one’s estate planning needs, even with the events surrounding us and following the suggestions to minimize the spread of the virus. Putting in place a solid estate plan includes a Last Will & Testament, Power of Attorney (to handle management of finances if incapacitated), and Medical Directive (to give someone authority to make medical decisions if incapacitated). The initial step of gathering the information and discussing a person’s objectives can be accomplished by a telephone or video conference. Draft documents can then be transmitted electronically, or if preferred by paper copy based upon the person’s individual wishes. Finally, the documents can be executed following certain protocols to minimize the possibility of spreading the COVID-19 virus, including arranging to sign the documents outside and/or in rotation, while maintaining proper distance. In addition, some situations will also permit remote notarizations (done online).

If you or a loved one have an urgent need for estate planning, know that the attorneys at Brown, Paindiris & Scott, LLP have the will to find a way to help you.