COVID-19 is an Ideal Time to Discuss, Review Estate Planning

Hearing about the 3,600-plus deaths in Michigan from Coronavirus (COVID-19) is certainly tragic. But how many of those people had a will, trust or end-of-life plan in place?

Not nearly enough.

Now, the surviving families of COVID-19 victims who didn’t have an estate plan face unimaginable stress for months — perhaps years — battling the courts instead of grieving the loss of their loved ones.

In our latest video, David Mammel, chair of Chapman Law Group’s Estate Planning & Administration practice, explains that “about half of us have plans that we’ve actually made with wills, with powers of attorney, with trusts.

“And then the other half have a plan that they may not even know has been made for them by the state of Michigan. So if we pass away without a plan, we’re going to deal with the state of Michigan’s plan — and it may not be a plan that you like.”

Estate Planning Can Now Be Done Without a Formal Office Visit

Fortunately, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has allowed estate planning attorneys like David to put plans together remotely during the COVID-19 stay-at-home order.

Under her April 8, 2020, executive order (“Encouraging the use of electronic signatures and remote notarization, witnessing, and visitation during the COVID-19 pandemic”), people can sign their estate plan documents such as wills, trusts, powers of attorney and deeds in the comfort of their own homes, so long as the parties:

  • have access to a computer, laptop, smartphone or tablet device that has video capability;
  • use two-way, real-time audiovisual technology that can record the meeting, such as Zoom, BlueJeans, FaceTime and Skype;
  • provide photo identification during the conference
  • can physically sign documents where instructed; and
  • have the ability to mail, fax or email the signed document to the notary on the day it’s signed.

The convenience of an at-home set-up, along with the free time Michiganians now have because of the stay-at-home order, makes this an ideal moment to establish or update your estate plan.

“For many people, unfortunately, their lives have slowed down by this COVID-19 time period,” David says. “Take the opportunity now. Realize that you have some additional time, and now the governor has made the opportunity available to you [so] you can plan from the beginning to the end. Realize that this is a time for you to take advantage.

“Carpe diem, if you will, for your own self.”

What Else You Should Know About Estate Planning

In our video, David and Chapman Law Group founder Ronald Chapman Sr. also discuss other estate planning matters you should know, including:

  • The difference between a financial power of attorney and medical power of attorney
  • How to start the discussion about, and the selection of, trustees and guardians
  • Why it’s best to meet with an estate planning attorney long before stressful, life-threatening, potentially catastrophic events take place
  • The importance of updating your estate plan when beneficiaries and key decision-makers have changed, and when you acquire new assets and investments
  • Why setting up and administering a trust isn’t something only wealthy people should be doing

Reach Out to Us Today for Peace of Mind Tomorrow

As all of us are in a state of uncertainty during COVID-19, we encourage you to take the time to reach out Chapman Law Group for your estate planning and administration services, such as:

“So many people forget about the fact that when they plan, they’re not just planning about who receives their assets,” David says. “They’re also planning for themselves, for the security of knowing the right people are in place at the right time when they need it most.”

Let us put a plan together to bring you and your loved ones peace of mind. Contact us today.

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David B. Mammel

Shareholder N.E.

Chairperson of Estate Planning & Administration

Michigan Office
1441 W. Long Lake Road, Suite 310
Troy, MI 48098
Phone: (248) 644-6326

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