Estate Planning and Covid-19
Many people procrastinate, or delay completing, their estate plans while trying to finalize some difficult decisions. Preparing an estate plan, whether a will or a revocable (or living) trust, is something that many people often think of, but life gets in the way and they never seem to get around to finalizing their plan. As the current Covid-19 crisis reminds us all, we never know exactly when we will need our estate plans. Therefore, we believe that you should focus on completing your plans to the best of your ability now, with the knowledge that you can always make changes in the future.
Foley Freeman is committed to continuing to provide our clients with quality wills, trusts, and related estate planning documents during the current Covid-19 pandemic. Although Idaho law requires a will to be witnessed by two people as well as by a notary public (unless they are entirely written in the hand of the person signing—called holographic wills), many important and necessary estate planning documents do not require a witness and a notary to be present. For instance, health care directives do not require witnesses or a notary. A general power of attorney (such as for financial matters in the event of incapacity) only requires signing before a notary. Although trusts are typically signed in the presence of a notary, there is no legal requirement in Idaho that they be notarized.
Although as a result of the current Covid-19 pandemic, Foley Freeman has transitioned for the time being to a largely remote work environment, we have the knowledge and resources to help you with your estate planning. Via telephone or video conferencing, in conjunction with email, Foley Freeman is able to craft a quality estate plan for your review and approval–be it a simple will or even the most complex trust. Once the documentation is finalized, we have established procedures to safely enable clients to visit our office and have those documents signed—all while complying with the current Covid-19 social distancing rules and guidelines. If you already have your estate planning documents, now is the time to review them to make sure they are in order and that they are current and reflect your wishes. Foley Freeman can assist you with such review and any changes or updates that may be necessary. When reviewing your current documents, you should answer the following questions:
- Are the persons named as your personal representative (executor) in your will, and as successor trustees in a trust, able, suitable, and willing to serve?
- Are the persons named as successor agents in your powers of attorney (for financial matters) and heath care directives (living wills and power of attorney for health care) able, suitable, and willing to serve?
- Have there been any major life changes since you signed your documents (such as births, deaths, or changes in residence or phone numbers)? In the event you have a trust, are the correct assets held in the name of your trust?
- Do you know where your original estate planning documents are located?
If you need to create an estate plan, or if you have questions about your current plan, feel free to contact us via phone or email to discuss further.