There is no question that the entire world is in an unprecedented situation. The globalization of modern times makes the current pandemic both a critical health crisis and an economic upheaval on a massive scale. We are all in uncharted waters and relying on both experts and each other for solutions. And, of course, there are no easy solutions.
So how does Peace of Mind factor into what we are all going through? My simplistic answer is that we can only control the things we can control. From simple things like social distancing (a new term of art), personal hygiene, sharing and not hoarding, and other precautions, to personal legal and financial readiness measures.
The legal readiness part of this process is to ensure that you have the appropriate legal documents in place to allow others to help you in the event of illness, incapacity, or even death. And not just you, your loved ones as well, particularly those at greater risk in this pandemic. Admittedly having the conversation about legal documents to include end of life care and post-death Wills and Trusts can be even more distressing than usual in today’s crisis period, but not having the conversations and not getting the planning in place makes things that much worse should something unfortunate happen.
While I hope it is not the case, it may even be too late to get legal affairs in order right now in areas where quarantines are in place or in situations where an individual is already too ill to take action. But if you do not have your planning in place and you are still able to do so, I urge you to take action sooner rather than later. This is where Peace of Mind comes in. It is not just for you; in fact it is more critical for your loved ones. It is truly a gift you can give them to have your plan in place should they need it.
This was recently reinforced to me by the grateful family of a client who died unexpectedly. The Peace of Mind Plan worked as envisioned and during the health crisis the family was able to focus on what was most important at that time—the comfort and care of their loved one and not the legal issues.
We can’t control stock markets, we can’t control the overall spread of the virus beyond our own protective measures, but we can control our own legal readiness and have a Peace of Mind Plan in place for them—and us.
Many states offer simple health care directives that can serve well in a pinch. Typically these do not require notarization. The AARP has a link to various state-specific directives that you might find helpful if you can’t get to an attorney. https://www.aarp.org/caregiving/financial-legal/free-printable-advance-directives/
A great resource are the members of the WealthCounsel network of estate planning attorneys who specialize in this practice area. A directory and other useful information is at www.estateplanning.com.
Stay safe, be vigilant and, as the Scout motto goes, “Be Prepared.”