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Estate Planning During COVID-19

April 9, 2020

Estate Planning COVID-19

Author: Sarah Barker

When it comes to estate planning, being armed with the right information is key. To help, here are answers to some common questions about estate planning, including some special considerations in light of COVID-19. 

Does COVID-19 Affect My Estate Planning? 

No! Given the current need for social distancing there are solutions to traditional in-person meetings. Carbert Waite estate planning lawyers can provide advice and take instructions from you over the phone, or via Skype, FaceTime, or Zoom. 

When it comes time to sign the estate planning documents, there are strict requirements in Alberta that must be followed to ensure that the documents are valid and enforceable. We can use the same video call platforms to ensure that these requirements are met.

What Estate Planning Documents Should I Have? 

We recommend that everyone have three documents:

  1. A will
  2. A personal directive; and 
  3. An enduring power of attorney 

A will directs how your property (estate) is to be distributed after your death. It can also name guardians for your minor children at the time of your death. 

A personal directive designates someone to act on your behalf and make personal decisions (such as health care or where you live) for you in the event that you lose capacity. An enduring power of attorney appoints someone to act on your behalf regarding financial matters should you lose capacity. 

Why Do I Need All Three Estate Planning Documents? 

The will, personal directive and enduring power of attorney work together for different purposes to help give you and your family members and other loved ones the peace of mind that your wishes will be carried out. 

People often think about personal directives and enduring powers of attorney as documents that are used only when we get older. However, they can also be used in the event of a hospitalization if you lose capacity and are unable to make decisions for yourself. 

What If I Already Have One or More of These Estate Planning Documents?

Estate planning is not static. Your life is constantly changing, and with those changes you need to ensure that your estate planning documents are keeping up and still reflect your wishes. 

We recommend that you revisit your estate planning every few years, or if you have had a major life event, such as marriage, birth of a child or grandchild, death of a loved one or beneficiary, change in your assets or move to a new province. 

Should you wish to discuss your estate planning, please contact one of Carbert Waite’s estate planning lawyers.