Estate Planning During a Crisis: What To Do

elderly couple looking over estate plans

For many Americans, the onset of COVID-19 had many considering the consequences of not having the proper estate planning documents in place. However, that does not mean you should be creating your will online. If you are completing your estate planning during a crisis, here’s what you need to do.

The Dangers of Online Wills & Trusts

When we see that a task can be as simple as typing in our information and sending in a small fee, we tend to go with easier options, especially in times like this. Unfortunately, easy and cheap often means invalid and a waste of time when it comes to estate planning.

Most often, the documents you will find online for estate planning are one-size-fits-all. However, that is not how estate planning works. Even if you have a simple family structure and a small estate, planning for the future takes time and diligence that without the proper training, you may not understand.

For example, you may be thinking that a will is enough to plan for the future. But you may actually need a trust to maintain your estate without burdening your loved ones.

Consider these scenarios:

  • You have a special needs child. He is your only child and you and your spouse plan to leave everything to him. However, upon meeting with an estate planning attorney, you find that leaving the entirety of your estate to your child will make them ineligible for federal programs such as Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid, and low-income housing. What you actually need is a Special Needs Trust to provide for your loved one’s future while not putting him at a disadvantage when you are no longer here.
  • You draft a trust online, designating certain assets to your spouse, some to your children, and some to a charity. However, in drafting the trust, you accidentally leave out one of your kids. Now, upon review, you see the error and hope it isn’t too late to correct it.
  • You’ve heard a lot about living wills and living trusts which allow certain actions to occur while you are still alive. So you create both documents online. Unfortunately, you don’t actually need a living trust because you do not have a lot of assets and you have a very small number of beneficiaries to care for.

While these seem like simple enough mistakes, if not caught in time, they can prove disastrous for your loved ones upon your passing or if you are unable to make decisions yourself. Luckily, if you have drafted a will, trust, or any other estate planning document online, Mazzoni Valvano Szewczyk & Karam can help.

Plan in Confidence with Mazzoni Valvano Szewczyk & Karam: Crisis Estate Planning

Whether you have an estate plan that needs review or are in need of all forms of preparation, the estate planning attorneys of Mazzoni Valvano Szewczyk & Karam are here for you. We can help create or review your will, trust, power of attorney, and more. Contact the Scranton law firm you can trust–Mazzoni Valvano Szewczyk & Karam.

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