Increase in Online Wills During Coronavirus Outbreak Raises Important Questions

March 26, 2020

The outbreak of the coronavirus has changed our way of life. Everyone in the New York and New Jersey region is aware of the effects of COVID-19, the disease caused by the Coronavirus. As we see members of our community fall ill and hear of the fatalities across the nation, we are reminded of our own potential vulnerability. This has prompted many who have neglected estate planning to go online and set up a “do-it-yourself” (DIY) will. Online will companies are reporting huge increases in business, week after week, which raises several important questions.

Are Online Wills Valid?

The purpose of a will is to distribute assets according to your wishes. An online will is only valid if it is executed in compliance with all applicable state laws. Most individuals who go online to draw up a will are unfamiliar with these laws. Therefore, they are at a disadvantage when it comes to determining whether their will is valid in their state. If the will is invalid, its entire purpose is defeated and instead of distributing assets according to one’s wishes, the decisions are left up to a judge. This is why it is important to seek the services of a skilled attorney who is deeply familiar with all applicable laws; a will is just one component of estate planning.

Is a DIY Will Enough?

In many cases, a simple will is not enough to make sure an individual’s end-of-life wishes are made known. In addition to a last will and testament, comprehensive estate planning includes the following legal documents, which can be drafted with the help of a qualified elder law attorney:

  • Health Care Proxy. This document specifies the person you trust to make your health care decisions, should you lose your ability to make or communicate your wishes.
  • Living Will. This documents states which forms of medical treatment should be provided, withheld, or discontinued, such as whether you wish your life to be prolonged by life-sustaining measures, such as ventilators and feeding tubes.
  • Power of Attorney. In this document, you grant a person or entity specific powers over your personal, business, and financial matters.

In each case, you are handing over the right to make important decisions to someone else. At the same time, if you do not have these documents in place, decisions may be made for you that do not align with your wishes.

Brooklyn Elder Law Attorneys at Korsinsky & Klein, LLP Provide Trusted Guidance During Uncertain Times

The World Health Organization (WHO) is projecting that the United States may soon become the global epicenter of the Coronavirus pandemic. Our community will survive the challenges of the Coronavirus by following the guidance of medical experts and putting plans in place to take care of ourselves and our loved ones. The Brooklyn elder law attorneys at Korsinsky & Klein, LLP are available for phone or email consultations to serve your estate planning needs throughout this crisis. Call us today at 212-495-8133 or fill out our online contact form to arrange an initial consultation. We serve residents of New York and New Jersey from our offices in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Lakewood, New Jersey.