5 Uplifting Ways Life Goes on During COVID-19

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Lauren Pitman

Author, Attorney

After so many months of life in the COVID-19 pandemic, we can feel that we’re caught in perpetual Groundhog Day where every day is the same. The same Zoom calls, the same sweatpants, the same walk to the refrigerator…

But life has changed and continues to change, for so many of us. People are getting married in small ceremonies, or having babies, or realizing dreams of opening a business or retiring. These major life changes warrant a reevaluation of your estate plan.

Let’s look at a few of these life changes and how they can affect your plan:

Becoming Partners for Life

A pandemic elopement makes for a romantic love story, and it comes with reevaluating what matters most.

Not all states automatically consider the spouse for all the roles in the estate plan, including the healthcare power of attorney. Make sure you have emergency healthcare documents that nominate your new spouse as your healthcare agent.

Even a simple “sweetheart will” is better than no plan at all when it comes to newlyweds. Without children, your plan might be pretty straightforward, but it still saves time and money to have a will.

Remember to review beneficiaries on your important documents, especially your bank accounts and life insurance policies. This is the best way to ensure your new spouse is covered if something happens to you.

Welcoming a Baby

What joy–a new baby! Whether you’re becoming a parent for the first time or welcoming a new addition, it’s a time to celebrate–and to think about your estate plan.

Any parent of a minor child should be thinking about guardianship documents, both temporary and permanent guardians for your children.

Temporary guardians range from grandparents to favorite babysitters and the neighbor who often watches the kids. It’s a long list of people who could legally care for your child in a short-term situation.

Consider with your co-parent who is your ideal permanent guardian if the event should arise that you cannot care for your child. Though it can be delicate, it’s very important for new parents to make their wishes known in writing, and to make them legally enforceable.

Starting Your Business

Entrepreneurs might be discouraged by some of the limitations of the pandemic, but I still see new endeavors popping up in my neighborhood. If you’re one of the brave souls who has started a business this year, you probably know it comes with a lot of paperwork, and it can make a difference in your estate plan.

As a business owner, you want to ensure that the business can run smoothly if there’s an emergency and something happens to you. A durable power of attorney document is very important for this task.

Business owners should also consider a succession plan, to appoint the right people to manage the business in their place.

Realizing a Retirement Dream

Retirement can mean a lot of things: more crossword puzzles, more rounds of golf, or more clubs and extracurriculars. While we all dream of a life in retirement, it’s a little less glamorous to think of living on a fixed income. 

Financial planning and estate planning work together to make life easier for retirees. With a good handle on your assets and their exact amounts, you can enjoy peace of mind about the life you want to live in retirement.

Retirement often means other changes: adult children getting married or having children. These changes too warrant a second look at an old estate plan.

Changing Houses

Many people have moved during the pandemic, despite the challenges of creating a new community with so many social distancing rules. Some have flocked to the countryside to escape crowded cities and others have capitalized on lower city rents to live in the hustle and bustle.

Whatever your fancy, moving to another state always means it’s time to update the old estate plan. An attorney in your new area can help determine if your plan is aligned with state laws and whether it will hold up in court.

Filing your emergency medical documents with the local hospital is also a must, to ensure you’re covered in case of emergencies.

Although it’s been a difficult year, it’s heartening to know that people are still moving forward with their lives during the pandemic. We can no longer imagine a clear end to COVID-19, but we can imagine our futures with hope and keep moving toward our goals. 

Read more topics or check out our Side By Side Planner.

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Disclaimer: The information contained in this article should not be considered tax or legal advice and is not a substitute for such advice. State and federal laws change frequently and the information in this article may not reflect your own state's laws or the most recent changes in state or federal law. For current tax and legal advice, please consult with an accountant or attorney licensed to practice in your state.
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