How COVID-19 May Impact Your Estate Planning

With the turmoil caused by the widespread pandemic, it has become paramount for many people to look to the future well-being of their families. While the current situation seems like it may begin clearing up soon, it still poses a challenge for many people, and there’s still plenty of worry to go around.

Making sure your estate plan is up to date is perhaps more important now than ever before, but the way estate planning is handled during this time will have to take current social distancing policies and financial issues into account.

Remote Notarization

First of all, a number of estate planning documents need to be signed and notarized, but that can be difficult with the social distancing measures currently in place. Fortunately, Illinois currently permits remote online notarization (RON) as long as the parties involved adhere to the following guidelines:

  • It must occur via two-way real time audio and video communication.
  • The audiovisual connection must be of sufficient quality for the notary to be able to examine the signer’s signature/credentials.
  • All participants must be physically present in Illinois, and the signer must attest to such.
  • The signed document must be promptly sent by fax or electronic means to the notary.
  • The notary must send the completed document back within 24 hours.
  • A recording of the RON must be retained for three years.

Remote signing of documents can help support the process of creating estate planning documents while the parties involved are unable to meet in person. Any discussions you have with your attorney will also likely be handled via remote communication.

Updating Documents

It’s important to keep each document in your estate plan up to date at all times. Periodically reviewing your estate plan with an attorney lets you make sure it furthers your goals and helps you properly care for your loved ones in the event that you pass on. Some of the documents that should be kept up to date include:

  • Wills
  • Financial and medical powers of attorney
  • Revocable trust documents
  • Passwords and digital information
  • Asset titling

Each of these documents and pieces of information should be updated according to changes in family and economic situations. In addition, creating efficient wealth transfer strategies will help you make sure your family and other beneficiaries are cared for. Given the way economic climates change, it’s often important to review your current strategies to make sure they yield the best possible benefits.

Taking Control in Uncertain Times

Finally, updating your estate plan is a great way to assert some measure of control over your life during these uncertain times. There’s a lot of information and news going around right now, and getting your estate planning documents squared away can help you find some peace of mind regardless of what happens.

Your attorney can help you sort through the information relating to your estate plan and guide you on the right steps to take to bring it up to date. Whether you need to update your will or adjust the components of your estate plan to match changing economic circumstances, contact an estate planning attorney to advise you throughout the entire process.

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