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Will and Estate Planning During COVID 19

Late last week a client emailed me, giving me instructions for a very complicated Will. My first reaction was to question my ability to respond in the circumstances. But I realize that I have no choice. Once people take in the gravity of this situation, they will look for the comfort of having their estate documents in good order. My role in this pandemic, apart from mother, grandmother, sister, and friend, is as  first responder to my clients’ need for up to date estate documents. 

Mary Jane McGinty – March 2020

It is Sunday evening and I have been isolated at my cottage for about two weeks. When I arrived here, people still believed they would be traveling to warm destinations for March Break. A week later, many opted not to go anywhere to avoid 14 days of isolation upon their return. Today, two weeks later, travel is a thing of the past. Yesterday, Nova Scotia was the last Province to declare a state of emergency, changing all rules of social conduct.  COVID 19 has progressed with breakneck speed and I think most of us are reeling, unable to react or to find our place in this new order. We have no roadmap for this.

Late last week a client emailed me, giving me instructions for a very complicated Will. My first reaction was to question my ability to respond in the circumstances. But I realize that I have no choice. Once people take in the gravity of this situation, they will look for the comfort of having their estate documents in good order. My role in this pandemic, apart from mother, grandmother, sister, and friend, is as  first responder to my clients’ need for up to date estate documents. 

This is what you need to consider. What will happen if you are unable to make your own medical decisions? In the absence of a Personal Directive, it will be your next of kin who makes decisions about your care. For many people, that will work. For others, it absolutely will not. Common law spouses are NOT next of kin, and that can present itself as a rude awakening when it is too late to address it by having a personal directive prepared.

What if you are unable to look after your property and or finances? A Power of Attorney can give the ability to do those things to someone you trust and have explicitly chosen. A little certainty in uncertain times.

And lastly, even if you have a Will, chances are there are things you would like to change. So, review the Will and let us know if we can help you update it. If you don’t have a Will, we can help you through the process of developing a plan, putting it on paper and making it legally binding. Now is the time.

So tomorrow I will turn off the radio, roll up my sleeves, and draft that Will. It will feel good to do something meaningful in this crazy time. Even in normal times, many of my clients comment that they feel much better having put a solid plan in place.  Let us know if we can help you by calling 902.422.5881 to book a virtual appointment with one of our legal team.   

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Life Insurance... Legal 101

Tuesday, January 12th, 2021

Published by: Tara Miller, Q.C.

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