This is the first post in a series of articles in which we will discuss how estate planning may help Hartford, Connecticut families impacted by COVID-19. If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it is that we should expect the unexpected. This is especially true in the context of estate planning. Not everyone will become seriously ill from the virus, however, the current situation should act as a reminder to Hartford residents of the importance of preparing an estate plan. In addition to Wills and Trusts, other documents may be especially helpful for protecting vulnerable family members or those who become sick or incapacitated. It is our goal to ensure that our clients’ families are protected and that their wishes are honored when they pass away. It is also our goal to educate residents about which documents may be useful in helping loved ones during this time. If you need assistance preparing or updating your estate plan, contact our office today to schedule a consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney.
This series will address the following topics:
- 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
It is important to understand these issues for a variety of reasons. First, when a Connecticut resident passes away without a Will, their estate will be distributed in accordance with Connecticut law. In many cases, these pre-determined rules are inconsistent with what the deceased would have wanted. Handling the estate through the probate process when there is no will can be costly and result in delays in distributions of assets to children or other family members. Second, durable powers of attorney allow an individual to appoint an agent to take certain actions on the individual’s behalf. An elderly family member or someone with an underlying condition may grant authority to a healthier person to handle their financial affairs, such as banking, while they remain quarantined. Third, for obvious reasons, appointing an agent to help make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you become too ill to do so could be extremely important during the COVID-19 crisis. Stating your end of life wishes in advance will be important for your family and caregivers. Fourth, there are multiple benefits of planning one’s estate in advance, including naming guardians for children, controlling the distribution of assets, avoiding probate, and more. Our attorneys can provide recommendations on which types of documents will accomplish your goals. Finally, for those who have an estate plan in place, it is extremely important to periodically review and update the documents as needed. Life events, such as births, deaths, marriages, or divorces should be reflected in one’s documents to ensure that all beneficiaries are accurately represented.
Estate planning is something that many Hartford, Connecticut residents put off for a variety of reasons. If the unexpected happens, however, doing so can be painful and costly to one’s family left to handle the estate. We encourage all of our clients to view the coronavirus crisis as a strong reminder of the importance of estate planning. 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.