How The COVID-19 Pandemic Impacted Estate Planning
With a vaccine readily available, case counts plummeting, and the state largely reopened for business, New Yorkers are optimistic in putting the COVID-19 pandemic behind them. At the same time, many residents have lost loved ones over the course of the past year and face other lasting changes with their health, their jobs, and in pursuing their normal activities. As Bronx & Westchester estate planning attorneys, our goal is to help you adapt to the ‘new normal’. Find out more about how the pandemic impacted estate planning and important documents you should have in place.
The Pandemic Emphasized The Importance of Estate Planning
In early June of 2021, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s office announced the widespread availability of the COVID-19 pandemic and encouraged all residents to get vaccinated. While many companies and service providers are back to business as usual, there are still some restrictions in place. The Governor announced that these would be lifted once it is determined that 70 percent of New Yorkers over the age of 18 have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
As we start to put the pandemic behind us, it is important to reflect on some valuable lessons learned during this time. In regards to estate planning, COVID-19 has emphasized how vital the following documents are for people of all ages:
- A will: COVID-19 claimed more than 50,000 lives throughout the state. While older adults were most at risk, people of all ages succumbed to the illness. It emphasized the importance of having a legally valid will in place, not only to convey your final wishes but to protect the rights of your loved ones and avoid potentially lengthy probate court proceedings.
- Power of attorney: The debilitating effects of the virus left many people hospitalized. Even in more minor cases, victims were unable to handle their own personal affairs for extended periods. Naming someone to act as your power of attorney ensures business and financial matters are addressed if unexpected events leave you unable to handle them yourself.
- Advance directives: Otherwise healthy people suffered serious impacts due to the virus. People who previously had not communicated with their loved ones regarding their wishes put them in the position of having to guess. Common New York advance directives include creating a health care power of attorney, which involves naming someone you trust to make important health care-related decisions on your behalf. It also includes a living will and Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders convey your wishes regarding life-saving care and end of life treatments.
Contact Us Today for Help
Post-pandemic, protecting yourself and your loved ones remains a top priority. At Cavallo and Cavallo, we are here to help by ensuring you have the proper legal documents in place. Call or contact our New York estate planning attorneys online and request a consultation in our office to discuss your options today.