Do you have a last will and testament? If so, has it been updated recently?
Under normal circumstances, it is vital to ensure that you have an updated will. However, the world is no longer normal. And, it will probably never return to normal again. Thus, it is crucial that not only do you have a will but that it has been updated recently.
According to EJ Rosenzveig, the succinct answer is that it is overwhelming to consider the implications of drawing up a will when you are facing a health crisis. And, the current global pandemic caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) has put every person on this earth in the position where they are facing a potential health crisis.
The global pandemic: A snapshot
The world is facing a challenge that has not been seen in living memory. The novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19, is spreading rapidly throughout the globe, causing untold destruction. It results in a respiratory illness in people with symptoms ranging from mild to severe, resulting in the deaths of more than 100 000 people.
Today’s figures, Thursday, 16 April 2020, show that there are over 2.1 million active infections and 140 000 deaths. The USA has the highest infection rate, with circa 641 000 cases as well as the highest number of deaths at about 31 500 people.
Consequently, most of the world’s citizens are facing some form of stay-at-home order, including a total lockdown. All non-essential businesses have been closed, with employees furloughed or even facing a permanent loss of income.
The biggest challenge with this coronavirus is that, apart from the fact that it spreads via droplet infection from person to person, and that it is incredibly contagious, no one really knows much about the virus.
This, in itself, is the raison d’etre for ensuring that your will is up to date. No matter how medical experts, researchers, and scientists study this virus to predict its behavior, no one really knows for sure how it behaves. And, unfortunately, a preventative vaccine is between one and three years away from large-scale production.
Types of wills
Part of the drawing up of a will is to gain an understanding of the different types of wills and what their benefits are. Thus, to expand on this statement, here is a list of the three most common types of wills that can be drawn up:
A simple will
This will is essentially a list of assets and how they should be distributed once you have passed away. If the nature of your assets and their distribution is relatively straightforward, you do not need to draw up anything more complicated than what is specified in this brief.
A living will
The purpose of a living will is not about the distribution of your assets once you are deceased. Its primary function is to provide detailed instructions on the type of medical care, treatment, and the lifesaving measures you would like implemented should you no longer be able to communicate these wishes for yourself.
A pertinent example is what to do if COVID-19 infects you, and you are no longer able to breathe. One of the critical attributes of the respiratory illness attributed to COVID-19 is that your lungs start filling with fluid preventing you from breathing properly. Current treatments include sedation and manual ventilation, helping you to breathe while your body fights the virus. Do you want this treatment should you end up facing this scenario? Do you want to be resuscitated if you stop breathing? All these instructions need to be specified in your living will.
The joint will
Succinctly stated, a joint will is designed to be used by spouses who wish to leave their assets to each other. When one party is deceased before the other spouse, the surviving testator inherits everything. When both spouses are deceased, the assets are distributed to the couple’s chosen dependents.
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