Wills, trusts, health care directives, powers of attorney, and legal guardian nominations are on many of our hearts and minds as COVID-19 compels us to face our own fragility and mortality.
It’s not as if we didn’t know we would all die (or become incapacitated) one day, but within our current reality, that “one day” has become an ever more real possibility. And one way to feel more in control over what’s happening out there is to make sure we all have our legal affairs in order at home. That way, if it does happen now, our families aren’t left with a big mess to clean up while they are grieving.
If you are trying to get your financial house in order right now, you may be just getting some basic documents in place. You may even be doing it yourself.
If that’s the case, it’s very important for you to know that the cost of a failed plan can be very high for the people you love. Plus if your documents are not properly signed, they will not work—period. End of story. And if your documents don’t work, your family could be stuck in court or conflict, which is probably the exact thing you want to avoid by handling your estate planning now.
There are many ways that plans fail, but one of the worst ways we see is when someone starts a plan and doesn’t get it signed properly. You do not want this to happen to your family, trust me. If you care enough about estate planning, you will want to make sure your plan will work when your family needs it.
That means you need to make sure your legal documents are actually signed, and signed in the right way. Some legal documents require two witnesses and some require notarization; however, in today’s social-distancing reality, these signatures could be difficult to come by. Some states have allowed remote notarization, others have not. In Alaska, the legislature has allowed for remote signatures on wills, but there are strict requirements to follow. So much so, that I am not recommending it to clients unless there are extenuating circumstances.
While we understand you likely have a desire to get documents in place now, we also believe there is going to be a significant increase in conflict and litigation as a result of DIY estate planning documents. Let’s keep that from happening to the people you love. If you want to get your plan done the right way, contact us and let’s have a 15-minute conversation about your next steps.