At Hickmon & Perrin, the health and safety of our clients and staff are our most important priorities. We also want you to know that during the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, we are here for you.

We Are Here for You. We remain committed to meeting all of your needs. Our offices are open, and we are maintaining normal business hours. However, we will not meet with clients in our offices unless no other alternative exists. We are available via our normal phone numbers or by e-mail and encourage you to reach out to us about any matter that may require our attention.

Preparation of Estate Planning Documents. We recognize the sense of urgency that COVID-19 brings to the estate planning process. Having key documents such as a Will, Advance Health Care Directive (“Living Will”), and Powers of Attorney in place and up to date can bring important peace of mind. We are actively preparing and updating a variety of estate planning documents, including Wills, Trusts, Health Care Directives, Powers of Attorney, amongst other documents, for our clients. While in-person planning and review meetings are not reasonably practicable we can meet via telephone and video conferencing, communicate by e-mail, and take any other steps to ensure that our services continue, uninterrupted.

Make Your Documents Available to Your Loved Ones. Finally, it is critically important that copies of your Health Care Power of Attorney, Authorization for Release of Protected Health Information (“HIPAA” authorization) and Living Will, are readily accessible to your loved ones and caregivers. If you have an electronic medical record with your primary care provider, these documents should be added to that record, if possible. The rest of your estate planning documents (such as your Will, Trust, and Financial (Durable) Power of Attorney) should be accessible to your chosen fiduciaries (executor and/or trustee). If you cannot locate copies of your estate planning documents and you need them, please reach out to us. Please note that the originally executed Will, and not a photocopy, are required for the document to be submitted to probate. North Carolina law provides that, absent the production of an original Will, the deceased party will be deemed to pass by intestacy, and the North Carolina General Statutes will determine who gets his or her property. The results of passing property by intestacy can be harsh with the result that the intended beneficiaries may not inherit as the decedent intended.

In conclusion, we recommend that everyone locate their estate planning documents and review them thoroughly. If you cannot find your documents or you have no documents contact a qualified attorney to assist you in developing a plan unique to your situation.

The content on this article is offered only as a public service to the web community and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. This information should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. You should always consult a suitably qualified attorney regarding any specific legal problem or matter.