Although COVID is not ‘over’, we have for the most part, been able to adapt and get back to ‘normal.’ COVID was a huge life disrupter for some of us, but not all of the consequences have been bad, especially in the estate planning world.
Realizing the Importance of an Estate Plan
Many people have now realized that they need an estate plan and advance directives. We met with a lot of younger families, especially with minor children, during COVID so they could have a plan in place in case something happened. It is vitally important for all people to have a plan in place if they should get sick. Who is going to make health care decisions for you? Do they know what kind of care you would want if hospitalized? What life support measures you would want taken? Who is going to make sure your bills are paid if you are hospitalized for long periods of time? Who will take care of your minor children if you are hospitalized? It’s good to have the conversations now with your trusted loved ones so they know your wishes.
How Generations of Trust Adapted
Another major impact COVID has had (at Generations of Trust at least) is how we adapt to client’s needs. Before COVID we usually would meet with a client in person at the office; get all the details to draft the estate plan; draft the documents; send the documents for the client to review; and then the clients would execute the documents around the conference table with the witnesses and notary. COVID has helped us adapt to make the estate planning process easier for the clients. We now meet with clients in person, by phone, or by video conference – whichever is the client’s preference.
During COVID we also adapted to include car-side signings. This way the client would remain in the car, and the witnesses and notary would go outside and stand socially distanced away. We would approach the car (masked and gloved) to review the documents and make sure the client understands what they are signing. The client would then execute the documents and the witnesses and notary would execute, and we would mail the documents to the clients. This has proven to be excellent for clients with mobility issues, and it’s a service we still offer to clients today. This way we are able to make sure the clients can comfortably sign their documents with the least amount of stress as possible.