It has been a stressful and overwhelming time for everyone navigating the new reality of the COVID-19 era. The U.S. has over 15 million unemployment claims, our economy is sinking deep into a recession, and the worst of all, thousands of more people are contracting the infectious disease all over the United States. Unfortunately, it has taken the lives of several patients. The impact of COVID-19 has people thinking and talking about uncomfortable topics such as illness and death. Plenty of people are wondering what will happen to their families if something were to happen to them.
This is why Americans nationwide are scrambling to set up wills and medical power of attorney directives to be prepared for the absolute worst-case scenario. Although this may be seen as an action based on panic, it is certainly a good time to consider writing a will for yourself and for your family. Talk to a wills attorney to get started.
Why the Increase in Wills?
According to a news article written by CNBC, online will companies have seen a tremendous increase in users, up to 50%. Meanwhile an estate planning attorney in Maryland says, “I’ve never seen anything like this.” So, why is there an influx of wills being made? This is because everyone, naturally, is thinking about mortality. What first started off as a disease that was thought to only affect the elderly was soon discredited when COVID-19 cases involving all ages of people began increasing. With death tolls and cases rising on the daily, this fear is not irrational.
Prior to the pandemic, only 37% of Americans had a will according to a survey. So, in times of a pandemic, there is no better time than now to get started.
What Exactly Does a Will Do?
A will, often known as a Testament, is a legally binding document that declares where your assets go, and who they got to when you pass away. It allows you to distribute all of your assets to whoever you’d like with full discretion. However, it only becomes in effect once death occurs. Other legal documents needed with a will are:
- Power of Attorney
- Living Will
Power of Attorney
The power of attorney document is used to designate who will make medical decisions on your behalf if you’ve reached a condition where you are unable to make them for yourself. This document helps prepare for unprecedented events such as catastrophic accidents, or in this case, contracting a deadly virus that has started a global pandemic.
A living will is also a legal document that allows you to make your own medical wishes to medical personnel and family members. This is made to avoid family disputes and family burdens about what to do in case you were ever in a terminal, vegetative state.
Practice Social Distancing While Preparing a Will
With nationwide orders to practice social distancing, most non-essential businesses are closed until further notice. Fortunately, many companies and law firms who provide will services have quickly transitioned and adapted their will services to be 100% online. Estate planning lawyers are offering free will consultations via video calls. Meanwhile, other companies such as Cake are offering end-of-life services entirely online as well.
It is a scary reality we are all living in. While everything may seem out of our control, preparing for your family in a crisis like this is something that is within control, and should highly be considered.