Estate Planning Considerations - COVID-19 Alert
We know that COVID-19 may be overwhelming. We are thinking about all of you during this pandemic and hope that you and your families remain healthy. While we are following Governor Pritzker’s order to stay at home, our firm is still working. Because we have received many questions in the last few weeks, we want to reach out to you to provide a few reminders and tips.
WE CAN PROVIDE ELECTRONIC COPIES OF YOUR ESTATE PLAN
If we have prepared an estate plan for you or for your family member, we typically send you either originals or copies (or both) of your estate plan documents, sometimes in a binder. We also have possibly sent you scanned copies as well. In more recent years, we also provide you with a flash drive containing electronic versions of your signed documents, as well as retaining physical or scanned copies of your estate plan documents at our office.
If you cannot locate your estate plan binder or electronic documents at this time, whether they are lost or you cannot access the documents while complying with social distancing, we would be happy to provide you with electronic copies of your estate plan. Please feel free to reach out.
DOCUMENTS TO HAVE ON HAND WHEN VISITING A HOSPITAL
If someone becomes sick and goes to the hospital, the hospital will usually request to see a patient’s signed powers of attorney, living wills (if you have one), and HIPPA release forms. Typically, when we provide a client with an estate plan, it includes powers of attorney for health care, powers of attorney for property, a will, and often a trust. In some instances, we have provided living wills and HIPPA release forms. Please review them to make sure they still express your wishes.
ANYONE OVER 18 CAN PLAN AHEAD IN CASE OF HOSPITALIZATION
For privacy, once a child turns 18, a parent has no right to obtain the child’s medical information. Most hospitals and health care providers often maintain that privacy and refuse to disclose medical diagnoses, health records, and other medical information to a child’s parents.
We can provide a fairly simple solution. Anyone over the age of 18 with mental competency can sign powers of attorney. While younger adults may not be in the highest risk category requiring hospitalization during COVID-19, we want to provide you with as much knowledge as we can during these uncertain times.
A FEW REASONS TO UPDATE YOUR ESTATE PLAN
Below please find a few of the most common reasons our clients decide to revisit and revise an estate plan.
- Powers of attorney are outdated
- Guardian of a minor is now elderly
- Birth of child or grandchild
- Individuals named in your documents are no longer living
- Change in net worth
- Additional assets are acquired
EXECUTING DOCUMENTS ELECTRONICALLY
While we would love to continue our tradition of meeting face to face, current situations as well as a recent executive order now allow us to execute documents without having to come downtown or even to meet in person. We are currently using phone and video communications as well as sending information electronically.
Governor Pritzker’s recent executive order allows us to assist you with signing, witnessing, and notarizing estate plan documents over video communications while we all log in from different places. If you would prefer to sign documents with your witnesses and notary in person, we can provide acceptable social distancing solutions we have used.
WE ARE HAPPY TO HELP
If after review of your estate plan documents you find that you want to update your documents or supplement your plan with additional forms, or just even need electronic copies, please reach out to any one of us below. Even if you just have a question, our estate planning attorneys listed below would be happy to speak with you.
GCT ESTATE PLANNING ATTORNEYS:
Donna Hartl (312) 696-2035,
Barry Siegal (312) 696-1699,
Nancy Franks-Straus (312) 696-1368,
Jonathan Morton (312) 696-1018, or
Katherine Oswald (312) 696-1019