As people have become suddenly ill or incapacitated due to the pandemic, it has become apparent that estate plans do not do much good when the key people do not know about them or have access to the documents and information. In many situations after someone becomes sick or passes away, family members are sent into a search for estate planning documents or at least the contact information of an attorney who might know about them.
If you fall ill and your loved ones do not know about your documents or are missing information, medical and financial decisions could be delayed or possibly not be made by the people you wanted. Putting together a “go package” of essential estate plan items and having it readily available is a great way to avoid these problems and be prepared for this pandemic. Make sure your family members know about the go package and know where to find it.
This package should have the major estate planning documents: medical power of attorney/advance medical directive, financial power of attorney, will, and living trust agreement. The medical documents are most important for this package, as they will inform doctors of your wishes for medical treatment and who should make decisions. This should also include key medical information such as insurance, prescriptions, and known allergies.
You could also make this package in digital format and place it onto a thumb drive or similar device in order to make to more readily accessible.
The main key for the package is, stay prepared and keep your family informed!
See Bob Carlson, The Covid-19 Essential Estate Planning “Go Package” , Forbes, May 27, 2020.