Pandemic Makes People Reconsider Estate Planning Issues

Pandemic Makes People Reconsider Estate Planning Issues

The national coronavirus pandemic has led many people to consider whether they are content with the terms of their estate plan.

If you are debating revising your estate plan, or are considering one, there are some critical issues to remember that can help you take control of the matter. The following will review some helpful tips to remember when working on your estate plan.

Signing Documents

In Ohio, certain requirements must be satisfied before estate planning documents are declared legally valid. Consider the following:

  • Trusts are typically signed by the creator/settlor as well as two disinterested witnesses. There is not a requirement that the creator/settlor be witnessed or notarized for the trust to be effective, but meeting these additional formalities makes it much less likely that the trust will later be challenged.
  • A last will and testament must be signed at the end by a testator whose signature is attested and subscribed in the presence of the testator by two or more competent and disinterested witnesses.
  • A durable power of attorney must be signed at the end by the principal in the presence of a notary. It is also good practice to have two witnesses execute that document.
  • Health care powers of attorney and living will declarations must be signed by the principal/declarant and two adult witnesses and/or be executed in the presence of a notary public.

As of May 2020, Governor DeWine has not passed an order enacting the ability to execute an electronic will or the power to sign documents through videoconferencing. Fortunately, there are various creative options that an attorney can help you utilize to sign these documents even during the coronavirus pandemic.

Advice on Drafting a Will and Power of Attorney

Certain risks arise from not having a will or power of attorney. Rather than let Ohio law dictate how your health or estate are handled, these documents allow individuals to make their own decisions about how these matters should be approached. In situations in which a power of attorney is not in place, a family might be required to petition the court so a guardian can be appointed for the person who needs assistance.

Guardianship proceedings are much more costly than creating a power of attorney document. As a result, attempting to save some money by not creating these documents can result in substantial complications down the road.

Wills are Still Necessary During a Pandemic

Wills are an excellent way to express your intentions for how your estate should be handled to your family and loved ones. If you do not have a will, Ohio state law will dictate what should be done with your property.

Also if you have young children, wills provide you with the opportunity to name a guardian who can take care of your children in case something happens to you.

Speak with an Experienced Estate Planning Lawyer

Despite the availability of DIY online estate planning documents, these documents do not come with the peace of mind of knowing that a knowledgeable attorney has crafted and approved your plan. To make sure your estate planning goals are achieved, retain the assistance of an estate planning attorney. Contact Dworken & Bernstein today for assistance.

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