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Your Estate Planning Kit in case of Emergency

The Baner Law Firm

Make sure you have physical copies of key legal documents and
other critical information prepared and available for an emergency.

I recommend that you consider creating an envelope with copies of
critical documents, such as a copy of your health care proxy, HIPAA
release, and living will, in case you have to go to the hospital.

The emergency envelope should have critical information:
– Emergency contact (in case of an emergency – “ICE”) name,
phone number and email.
– Detailed list of all known medical conditions.
– Detailed list of all medications.
– Detailed list of all vitamins and supplements
– Health insurance information

Beneficiary Designations:

Review beneficiary designations that can be change online to
coordinate with the plan.
I can can do a web meeting with you and
review your documents just like in person by sharing what’s on your screen and what’s on my screen.

Core Document in COVID-19 time:

-Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is a legal document
in which your client names a person, called an agent, to handle legal,
tax, financial and other matters if the client cannot do so. Having a
power of attorney in place now may be particularly important so that an
agent can transact business for a client who might fall ill to COVID, or
merely to help a well client avoid unnecessarily having to go to a bank
or other business location.

If you already have an existing document. Consider the following:

Who they named as agent and successor agent. Are these still
people that you can rely on? Does the agent know that they
have been named? Some clients name close friends or family who
live at a distance. But in this difficult time, it may be best to have
somebody local who can help the client address specific matters.

Is the document so old that banks or others might be concerned about
its validity?
– What gift provisions are provided for?
– Does the agent have authority to change beneficiary designations,
e.g. to deal with decision making post-Secure Act?

Considerations new to the COVID situation:
– Many powers of attorney are “springing” powers that become effective only if you becomes incapacitated and cannot mange your affairs. If the
document says your agent cannot act until the principal is incapacitated,
you might want to change that immediately to a new power of attorney that lets the agent act immediately (i.e. not contingent on the principal being disabled) so that the agent can help you today. The restriction of only being effective when you are disabled might make your form useless in the current environment.

Another consideration has been brought to the fore by the current unique
and difficult coronavirus experience. If you’re preparing a new document
consider permitting the agent to communicate decisions via email,
electronically signed documents, and perhaps even via Skype, FaceTime
and similar services. It is not clear that banks or other providers will accept
this, but it might nonetheless be worth considering. You might also hold
banks and other third parties harmless for relying on such electronic 21 communications to encourage them to be more accepting.

Consider having estate planning documents for your children. Anyone over the age of 18 should have them! In a state of pandemic, there is no time for probate, for the court to intervene to make decisions who has the power over anyone’s estate.

Baner Law

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