Estate Planning for Coronavirus (COVID-19)

New York Times best-selling author Gretchin Rubin offers this Secret of Adulthood: “Something that can be done at any time is often done at no time.” Estate planning often falls into this category. My office aims to bring peace of mind through estate planning. Despite my best efforts to inform the public about the importance of preparing your estate plans before emergency strikes, many people still falsely assume that they “have time” to get it done. Whether it’s a form of denial, a symptom of fear, or a side-effect of anxiety, many people believe they’re “too young” to worry about estate planning because they are healthy and have no underlying medical conditions.

These assumptions are simply not true, and frankly, quite risky. We cannot predict tragedy. Unforeseen circumstances can be sudden and devastating. No person can predict when misfortune will strike. The only way to be prepared is to actually prepare. Estate planning is a form of preparation. When it comes to your health, the financial security of your family, and the peace of mind required to make logical decisions in a crisis, experts agree that estate planning is an essential tool.

In most cases, a health crisis comes in the form of a prolonged illness or the common trials of advanced age. There are certain emergencies, like car accidents or sudden, severe illnesses that leave little room for preparation between the incident and critical care. Take for example, a sudden heart attack or massive stroke, a work injury, or a car accident; in these cases, you would not have the ability or time to suffer a catastrophic car accident, pause the tragedy to do some estate planning, and then resume the tragedy as you slip into a coma. Only estate planning, prepared well in advance of any medical emergency, can provide you with the peace of mind that your family and estate are cared for in the event of your prolonged illness or untimely death.

The recent threat of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) is a prime example of why it is so crucial to prepare your estate plans before a health crisis occurs. We have little reliable information about how this virus is spread, how it affects certain populations, what recovery looks like, and how to most reasonably protect ourselves in its wake. A small cough today could turn into a multi-day affair in the ICU at your local hospital. The same small cough for you could mean a stay in the ICU followed by a one-way trip to a final resting place for folks in vulnerable populations.

When I’m sick with even a common cold, the last thing I want to do is deal with paperwork. I don’t want to call attorneys and battle with insurance or refinance my house. When ill, most people don’t have the energy, stamina, or ability to make big life decisions. Wouldn’t you consider estate planning a big life decision? You’re deciding who will make your medical and financial decisions if you are unable. You’re deciding who will represent your final wishes when you pass away. You’re deciding how your estate will be divided. You’re deciding how your loved ones will be cared for. These are big decisions. These are decisions that are best made when you are healthy. These are decisions that can only be made before you are on life support, before you are diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s, before you and your closest loved ones are in quarantine due to a global pandemic, before you pass away. However, you don’t have to make those decisions alone, the wisdom I have gained from helping well over a thousands clients make those decisions will ensure that your decisions process will be a smooth and effective.

Using other countries as a model, we can assume that the present threat of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) is just beginning for the United States. It will not be long until each of us knows someone who is exposed, infected, hospitalized, or passed away because of these illnesses. There is no way for us to predict who those people will be. In a time like this, it is natural for all of us to wonder if it will be some distant celebrity, a local official, our retired neighbors, our aging parents, or us. The question is: will you be prepared if it happens to you?

Given the unpredictable and seemingly unavoidable threat of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), there is a special urgency for all people, no matter their current age or health status or risk of exposure or probability of death, to implement a comprehensive estate plan strategy. We do not say this to incite panic or fear, but rather, to inspire thoughtful and wise actions to keep you ahead of the crisis.

My office has a track record of staying calm in situations like Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) because it is our role to help others feel secure and prepared. We may not be on the frontlines, providing urgent medical care and life-saving measures, but we are here. We are helping people prepare for unforeseen circumstances and medical emergencies so that they can focus on their best course of care and recovery instead of panicking about the decisions that lie ahead. Fear comes from the unknown. Our office and the estate planning we provide relieves that fear by making plans for your future more secure.  For over a decade, the estate planning services I offer have provided peace of mind to many people facing severe health crises, and it has uniquely prepared me to assist our community in a time of widespread fear of a global pandemic.

Our office works in a professional and expedient fashion to ensure that your estate planning documents are completed within two weeks from your initial appointment. We are available to help. We are here to address your concerns in the face of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), cancer, heart attacks, strokes, organ failures, and accidents, but we cannot deny that the best time to address these concerns is before you are personally faced with these crises.

  • Calling now to schedule your initial estate planning appointment is the first step in preparing your family for a possible medical crisis.
  • Calling now to schedule your initial estate planning appointment is more urgent than scrolling twitter for news updates.
  • Calling now to schedule your initial estate planning appointment is more urgent than confirming lunch plans with friends.
  • Calling now to schedule your initial estate planning appointment is more urgent than most of the other mundane tasks we allow to interfere with important tasks.

Once you’ve called to schedule your initial estate planning appointment, you can stock up on the essentials and read the news and sanitize your hands and modify your work schedules. Trust us, you’ll feel better if you’re doing something practical and tangible, like estate planning, to help ease your fears amidst the unknowns of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) and other public health scares.

Matthew Hart is a California Licensed Attorney who is an Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law Specialist certified by the State Bar of California.  His office is in Antioch and he can be reached at 925-754-200 or www.MatthewHartLaw.com.