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Estate planning in the age of COVID-19

Spring is in the air, which typically brings plans for summer vacation and travel. This year, with the advent of COVID-19, people in Massachusetts may be considering travel closer to home. They may also be thinking of making sure their affairs are in order before vacations begin. No one knows how widely the virus may spread and being prepared for the worst can allow one to better enjoy a hard-earned vacation. Having basic estate planning documents in place is a smart move to consider.

Contemplating one's own mortality is not welcome at the best of times and can be more difficult during times of crisis. The current health crisis may serve as an impetus for many to consider establishing a plan and a current will is the most basic document that can help determine who receives what assets when one passes. Another important document is a living will, also known as a medical directive. This allows one to specify a person who is empowered to make medical decisions in the event a person is physically or mentally unable to do so. It also can indicate a person's wishes regarding end-of-life medical care.

An important consideration when reviewing or creating a plan is to make sure that beneficiaries are current. A will does not override beneficiary designations on insurance policies, investment accounts or other retirement accounts. If there is no beneficiary named, this can cause complications and lengthy delays.

Estate planning is important and having a comprehensive plan in place can provide peace of mind to loved ones in Massachusetts. If a person is unsure where to start, or uncertain if revisions to the plan are necessary, a consultation with an experienced attorney can help. A knowledgeable lawyer can review one's assets and existing documents to help ensure that one's final wishes are successfully carried out.

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