The novel coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has altered our way of life and created considerable uncertainty and stress. As Americans struggle to cope with unpredictable circumstances, many find themselves contemplating worst-case scenarios that might force their families to go on living without them. We are already helping families who have lost loved ones
“Whenever they are confronted with any sort of existential threat, it’s natural for people to consider their mortality,” said Bernie Greenberg of Kokish and Goldmanis, a Colorado law firm that specializes in estate planning and family law. “With the current COVID-19 outbreak, people want to make sure their loved ones are protected in the event that an infection causes fatal complications.”
Thankfully, the vast majority of people recover from the novel coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With that said, some people are more prone to complications and this virus has proven very dangerous.
According to the CDC, most COVID-19 deaths are occurring among adults over the age of 60 and people who already have high blood pressure, lung problems, diabetes, immunodeficiencies and other underlying health conditions. For these people, the pandemic can be especially worrisome, leading many to focus on preparing for a potential end-of-life event. We are also seeing deaths among other groups as well.
“None of us like to think about the prospect of dying,” said Greenberg. “Unfortunately, by avoiding the subject, people can inadvertently harm the ones they love. If someone dies without putting their estate in order, their families may be left unimaginable wreckage and chaos during a time when they are struggling through incredible grief.”
Depending on the individual, estate planning can be complex, especially when you factor in applicable state and federal laws. Since each person has different assets, properties and goals, a proper estate plan must be individually designed and drafted for each person. This is why it’s important to rely on professionals who can streamline the process and prepare for every potential eventuality, however likely or unlikely it may be.
“If you don’t cross every “t” and dot every “I”, you’re opening your estate plan up to potential failure and legal challenges after you’ve passed,” said Greenberg. “It’s critical for people to work with a reputable expert who will work alongside them to develop a rock-solid estate plan that will work according to their wishes in a way that will protect their loved ones.”
Even if they already have an estate plan in place, Greenberg says people should take steps to make sure everything is current with applicable law HIPAA compliance and their shifting goals.
“At Kokish and Goldmanis, we typically suggest a Family Wise Estate Planning Assessment every 15 to 23 months,” said Greenberg. “With the current pandemic, it may be best to go ahead and get a review now so you can amend an older plan to provide protection and flexibility to your spouse and family.”
While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused more and more people to consider the importance of preparing their estates, it’s not the only reason to act. According to reports, thousands of people die in car wrecks every single day. What’s more, the CDC reports that more than 1.2 million Americans die annually from heart disease and cancer.
This is why it is so important for people to plan ahead, so they can rest assured that their wishes will be carried out and their loved ones will be taken care of.
“Untimely deaths occur every day,” said Greenberg. “Whether it’s a car accident, a medical problem or an infectious outbreak like the one we are seeing now; there are countless things that have the potential to prematurely end our lives. It’s important for people to take steps to ensure that their estates will be handled appropriately in accordance with their individual wishes and federal and local laws.”
In the face of a frightening global pandemic, Americans are being forced to consider their mortality. While no one can predict how they will respond to a potential infection; it is possible to take definitive steps to protect their loved ones by planning right now for a worst-case scenario.
About Kokish and Goldmanis
An AV-rated law firm, Kokish and Goldmanis provides a diverse range of estate planning and family law services, including design, analysis, implementation, drafting and estate and trust administration.
Serving the needs of families, businesses and individuals, we are proud to provide expert service to clients in Colorado, including the Denver Metro Area, Parker, Castle Rock, Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree, as well as Kiowa, Elizabeth and all of Arapahoe, Douglas and El Paso counties.