Starting in around March, 2020, right around the time when California and other States went into lock down, I experienced an uptick in inquiries from people interested in doing their Will or Trust. It could be that people had more time on their hands due to working from home. Of course, the other possibility is that all of this news of doom and gloom caused people to think about their own mortality and realize that they have been procrastinating for years and putting off their estate plan.
So should you be worried enough about Covid-19 that you should start planning your affairs? Overall, the odds of dying from the Coronavirus seem to be about .5 percent to 1 percent. According to the Center of Disease Control's Update on July 10, 2020, the probability of dying once infect from Covid-19 is about .65 percent. Originally, organizations such as the WHO estimated that the chances of dying from Covid-19 was 2 percent and then it raised it to about 3 percent but once it is taken to account that many cases are asymptomatic or have only mild symptoms and do not make it into statistics, the mortality rate is lower than originally thought. Most recent studies suggest that the death rate from Covid-19 is less than 1 percent.
Although a less than 1 percent chance chance of passing away due to Covid does not seem like cause for concern you have to keep in mind a few things. First, the older you are, the more at risk you are of developing serious complications from Covid-19. So for people above the age of 65, if you haven't gotten your affairs in order already, Covid-19 should nudge you in that direction. Same goes for people with preexisting conditions such as Diabetes, Obesity, or High Blood Pressure. You should have an Estate Plan in place anyway, but this is just one additional nudge to get you to start thinking about your affairs.
What documents should your Estate Plan Include?
At the minimum, you should have a Will or a Living Trust in order to make sure that your assets go to the people you intend them to go to. I also recommend a Healthcare Directive so that you can appoint someone to make important healthcare decisions for you in situations when you can't make them for yourself. Finally, I would suggest a Durable Power of Attorney allowing someone to make legal and financial decisions on your behalf if you can't do it for yourself.
So in conclusion, if you are infected with Covid-19, you will most likely survive and the odds are very high that you will live to tell about it. I have known probably a half a dozen or more people who have been infected, including a sister-in-law, and they all recovered without any need for hospitalization. That said, it is something that should get you at least thinking about having your affairs in order in so that you have one less thing to worry about and have some peace of mind.
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