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Personal Finance FAQ

Why Should You Think About Updating Your Will During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

Generally speaking, people are afraid to face their own mortality. We have a psychological trait called optimism bias that is often very beneficial – it’s what helps us to believe in a brighter future and to wake up in the morning and go to work. If we didn’t have optimism bias, we’d sink into depression and live like Eeyores.
However, optimism bias also causes us to not believe that we could ever get hurt or to die. How many teenagers and young adults do you know who think that they are indestructible?
As the coronavirus pandemic has come so bluntly into everyone’s lives, it is one of those few events that does cause us to contemplate our own mortality, particularly if we know someone who suffered from COVID-19.
While it’s still very foremost in our minds, this is the time to really think about getting all of your paperwork in order just in case something bad happens to you and you do wind up finding yourself immortality-challenged.
However, just having a will probably isn’t enough.
I outline several documents that someone should consider having to make sure that their wishes are respected:
  • A will
  • Advanced medical directive
  • Medical durable power of attorney
  • HIPAA release form
  • Limited powers of attorney
  • Payable on Death/Transferable on Death orders for accounts
  • If you’re a parent, a trust for minors

Furthermore, it’s important not to put these off. It appears that the coronavirus will be around for a long time. People are already starting to get tired of being quarantined and not being able to do what they want. We will start to experience a phenomenon called psychopathic numbing, which will make the possibility of death less and less tangible for us over time. That will put out the spark that is currently causing you to think about getting a will, which may cause a lot of problems for those whom you leave behind.

You can also check out the FIRE playbook to learn more about what other estate planning actions you should take.
Jason Hull is a Dallas-based Certified Financial Planner and owns Hull Financial Planning.

By Jason Hull, CFP®

Jason Hull, CFP®, was the co-founder of Broadtree Partners, a firm that acquires $1-5MM EBITDA companies. He also was the co-founder of open source search consultancy OpenSource Connections, a premier Solr and ElasticSearch firm. He and his wife FIREd (financial independence retire early) at 46 and 45, respectively. He has a BS from the United States Military Academy at West Point and a MBA from the University of Virginia Darden Graduate School of Business.

You can read more about him in the About Page.

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