This is the final post in a series of articles discussing the benefits of estate planning for Hartford, Connecticut families impacted by COVID-19. Our previous article focused on the importance of keeping an existing estate plan updated to account for changes in one’s objectives. If not addressed in one’s estate planning documents, major life events, such as births, deaths, divorces, or financial gains, for example, can leave one’s estate plan out of date. For example, a marriage that occurs after a Will was executed renders that Will invalid as to the new spouse under CT law. To avoid unintended consequences, we encourage our clients to regularly review documents and to notify us if changes may be required. Our objective in this series has been to consider how estate planning may benefit families amid the coronavirus pandemic. It has also been our goal to explain how certain estate planning documents, such as powers of attorney, may be helpful during this time. The pandemic has reminded many of us about the importance of planning for the future to ensure that one’s family is protected and one’s wishes are honored should one become incapacitated or pass away. If you need assistance preparing or updating your estate plan, contact our office today to schedule a consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney.
We addressed the following subjects in this series:
- What happens if one passes away without a Will
- Durable Powers of Attorney during quarantine or incapacitation
- Healthcare Powers of Attorney and Living Wills
- The importance of having an estate plan
- The importance of updating an existing estate plan
Whether you are considering your estate planning goals as a result of COVID-19 or otherwise, these are important topics for a variety of reasons. First, every state, including Connecticut, has laws in place that determine how one’s estate is handled if they die without making a Will. In many cases, these predetermined rules are inconsistent with what the individual may have wished. Unfortunately, without a Will, a probate court must follow the statute. Second, many people create Powers of Attorney as part of their estate planning. Particularly during the pandemic, these documents may be useful for individuals who wish to grant a trusted person authority to handle financial and other affairs on their behalf. Third, Healthcare Powers of Attorney allow residents to appoint someone to make medical decisions on their behalf if they become incapacitated. This designation could become extremely important should someone fall ill and require hospitalization or ventilation. Fourth, planning one’s estate can provide multiple benefits in addition to peace of mind. These may include ensuring your end-of-life wishes are honored, providing for your family, avoiding probate, and tax planning. Finally, for those who have an estate plan in place, reviewing and updating your documents regularly can prevent unintended consequences in the future.
In this unprecedented time, it is more important than ever to create or update your estate plan. Our firm can advise you and your family about how to achieve your goals. We are able to handle client sessions remotely and in compliance with social distancing guidelines. Contact our office to schedule a consultation with a Hartford lawyer. We also service the areas of Wethersfield, New Britain, Rocky Hill, East and West Hartford, Bristol, Glastonbury, and Manchester, as well as the Middlesex County cities of Middletown and Cromwell, as well as elsewhere in Connecticut.