Estate Planning in the Context of COVID-19

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This article by attorney Danielle D. Cornejo is sponsored by Martin Pringle Law Firm.

The coronavirus pandemic is impacting our daily lives, forcing us to take steps to protect our families and finances.  The once-sporadic thought of “What happens if I get sick, become incapacitated, or die?” is inevitably more top-of-mind during these difficult times. Having your estate plan in place allows you to plan for those scenarios.

Some of the natural anxiety that accompanies the current public health situation can be channeled constructively to create or update some estate planning documents, which will hopefully provide some peace-of-mind. A last will and testament or a revocable trust are the documents that guide how your assets are handled after your death and provide protections to your loved ones. Your will can also designate preferred guardians and conservators for your minor children in the event of your passing.

In addition to wills and trusts, you should be considering health care directives, health care powers of attorney, and durable powers of attorney for financial and other matters. These documents will allow you to designate trusted individuals to make decisions for you in the event you become ill and incapacitated.

You, your spouse, and your adult children should all consider these important documents – and discuss them together. If you already have these estate planning documents in place, you should be sure they are up-to-date and say what you want them to say in 2020.

The good news is that most of the estate planning process can be done remotely.  We are staying connected with clients through video-conferencing, phone calls and emails to review documents and discuss their estate planning needs.

The most challenging part of estate planning during this time relates to the signing process, as many estate planning documents need to be signed in the presence of a notary public and witnesses. The governors of Kansas and Missouri have approved remote notarization for the duration of this public health situation. We are also able to discuss alternative ways to satisfy witness and notary requirements while maintaining safe social distances.

Whether we are currently working on your estate plan, or the COVID-19 scare is encouraging you to create one, our attorneys stand ready to help. We are taking steps to continue to serve our clients while respecting the stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines.

If you have questions about your existing estate plan, or if you are ready to begin the process of getting one in place, contact one of our estate planning attorneys in Wichita, Overland Park, or Kansas City.


Danielle Cornejo earned an undergraduate degree in Strategic Communications at Oklahoma State University.  She knew she wanted to further her education, and after a bit of soul searching, Danielle decided to apply to law school.  When Danielle’s father passed away during her first year at the University of Oklahoma School of Law, she was elected by her family to administer the estate.  Left with no will or trust to guide her, Danielle relied on law school professors and mentors to help her through the emotional task of administering her father’s estate.  This experience confirmed for Danielle that attending law school was the right decision.  Although she encourages clients to seek her assistance in making a testamentary plan, Danielle also stands ready to help those who find themselves in situations similar to hers, when a loved one dies intestate.  Danielle focuses her practice on estate planning, estate administration, tax law, business law, and real estate matters.
 

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