Estate planning is one of the most important plans you’ll have to make while alive. This plan, if done correctly, can help secure your future and the future of those you care about. Estate planning is a plan made to dictate how you want your assets to be shared and managed after your death. This plan also covers healthcare should you become incapacitated.
Failure to make this crucial plan while alive can be bad for your family. And in the event that you become incapacitated, the court will have to select an individual who’ll make those important healthcare and financial decisions on your behalf. I am quite sure that is not something you will like. You definitely want to be able to select the individual who will make those healthcare and financial decisions for you when incapacitated.
Coronavirus and Estate Planning
Coronavirus changed the way things were done. In order to curb the spread of the virus, curfew was imposed in several countries, especially those with enormous cases of the infection. With the stay-at-home order in place, measures were developed to conduct meetings without leaving ones house. One of the measures is the use of platforms such as Skype, FaceTime, including Zoom. With these platforms, you could conduct meetings from anywhere around the world in the comfort of your home. You could get in touch with your estate planning attorney while still adhering to the coronavirus protocols.
The pandemic gave rise to virtual wills. So you can make a will virtually with the right individuals in attendance.
Making a will-virtually
According to the law, a will must be drafting In the presence of two witnesses to be legally valid. This is done to protect individuals against undue influence or fraud which has become widespread in estate planning.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, some governments went ahead to create a new legislation which makes it possible for witnesses to be present either physically or virtually. As a result, will which are witnessed through platforms like Zoom and the likes will be considered as valid. This legislation was introduced in England and wales.
Don’t Panic; Draft a Plan
The pandemic is making most people feel like the end of the world id near. People are panicking. Death tolls are increasing day by day. No one knows who’s next.
Of course, I understand that this is a trying time, but if you want to make it past this dark hour, you must ensure that you know what is happening. You are encouraged to get facts regarding the outbreak from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for recent updates and the best strategies to reduce exposure.
As soon as you have handled your risk of exposure, you can then look at the future by evaluating your estate plan. If you are yet to draft an estate plan, now is the best time to do so. Remember, if you die without an estate plan, the state government will dictate how your estate will be shared and this might affect those you care about.
Virtual witnessing is possible, however, for the virtual witnessing to be valid, a few requirements must be met. When witnessing a will through a video platform like Zoom, Skype, FaceTime etc., the witnesses must see the will being signed in the actual time, so there won’t be a room for fraud or any dishonest act. For the sake of the future, it is important that you record the witnessing process and store it in a very safe place.
To ensure that any doubt of fraud is squashed, you must make sure that the video and audio quality of the recording is optimum. If the video and audio quality is bad, suspicions may arise even if the whole process was genuine. When the estate owner decides to sign the will, the witness must see them signing the will, not just a part of their body. When the witness decides to sign the will, the estate owner must also see the entire body of the witness and not just a part of his or her body.