A Pandemic is a Pretty Good Time To Prepare or Update Your Estate Plan

by Andy Gutwein & Laura Vogler

With the COVID-19 pandemic showing no signs of slowing, many of us are recognizing the harsh reality that we're all vulnerable. There are so many factors outside of our control, we can't possibly know what the future holds for us. Our faith can help us cope with that reality, but it doesn’t change it. As we've all said before (and will say again), these are extraordinary times -- unimaginable just months ago.

Our law firm, Gutwein Law, remains open for business. All of our team members are back in the office and taking the necessary precautions to keep each other and our clients safe.

While we've expanded our approach to client interaction, we remain more committed than ever to providing the best possible client service when preparing and updating estate plans.

If you need to create or update your estate plan, here's what you can expect when working with us:

  1. Initial planning conference held by telephone or video call. We'll first talk through your assets, potential beneficiaries, and options for planning. If you already have an estate plan in place, we can discuss any updates needed.
  2. Draft documents emailed for review. Once we create a plan for what's best for you and your family, our team will work to draft the documents and send them over to you for review via email. We can also get back on the phone or video call to review and discuss as needed.
  3. Meet to sign and properly witness the documents. When the documents are final, we'll work with you to figure out the most comfortable (and convenient) option to get them properly witnessed and completed.
    1. First, and most common historically, is to meet in-person to sign and witness the documents. This is still an option for our clients, and we'll do our best to make sure the process is as smooth and safe as possible. If meeting at our office, we'll disinfect the necessary surfaces, ensure physical distancing, and provide proper PPE to all those involved in the meeting.
    2. The next option is to do a drive up signing. Essentially, you pull up to the curb and stay in your car. Our team will approach your vehicle and hand you the documents. We stay at a safe distance while everyone signs, and then you drive away. Following the signing, we'll compile your documents and mail you the completed documents like we normally would.
    3. Last, if you're in a long-term care facility that is not allowing visitors, we can work with the staff there to serve as witnesses for the documents.

Updating your estate plan is generally a lot easier than you think, and now is the right time to get your plan up-to-date. Your loved ones will appreciate it.

If you have any questions or are interested in updating or creating an estate plan, please reach out. Our team can be contacted at 765.423.7900 or at info@gutweinlaw.com. Stay safe and healthy out there.