The COVID-19 crisis is prompting many people to contemplate estate planning when doing so previously may have felt like a low priority, and it has created a number of unique challenges in accomplishing a well-developed plan. It is imperative to have an estate plan in place before it becomes difficult or impossible to do so due to the need for social distancing or illness. Previously, even if someone were hospitalized, estate planning could be accomplished, however, the coronavirus and the restrictions hospitals are imposing on access to patients makes such last minute planning near impossible. And, even though New Hampshire and other states have loosened requirements for signing some legal documents, an attorney still needs to have meaningful access and discussion with a client to properly advise him or her. Further, the stringent formalities of signing a will in New Hampshire remain in place.
The best way minimize concern during this difficult time is with information and thoughtful, purposeful planning in advance of any crisis. Comprehensive estate planning not only includes planning for distribution of your assets upon your death, but also, and more importantly under the current situation, planning for who will manage your care and assets if you become incapacitated or are hospitalized for an extended period of time. Selecting someone to access your funds, pay your bills, apply for benefits on your behalf and be your health care advocate are particularly important during this pandemic. Without this type of planning, your loved ones would be forced to seek authority from the courts in order to perform these tasks. Given all of New Hampshire courts are closed for non-emergencies, this could prove very difficult if not impossible.
Russman Law can provides comprehensive estate planning services to all clients, from simple Wills to complex wealth planning. Individualized solutions are carefully developed to address each client's unique concerns and objections. Please feel free to contact us for a prompt consultation.