Legal advice during a pandemic: Don't try to do it yourself

The COVID-19 crisis has put a lot of stress, of course, on everybody and it has many of us asking questions about how prepared we are in a worst case scenario.

FOX 2 checked in with attorneys Andy and Danielle Mayoras to talk about estate planning and other things we really need to keep in mind. 

FOX 2: Let's start with estate planning what should people be keeping in mind right now?

"There's a lot of panic right now," said Danielle. "A lot of people are dealing with medical situations and anxiety they haven't had to deal with before. so having the right estate planning documents like medical documents, financial documents, and wills and trusts is now more important than ever."

"We really heard a lot of reports about people panicking and doing it themselves," Andy said. "They are trying to do homemade wills or other documents. These kinds of shortcuts often lead to more problems. So we really encouraging people to with an estate planning lawyer who is experienced in these areas to make sure that the documents are done the right way. There's some legal requirements for wills to be valid, powers of attorney to be valid. 

"In this time of social distancing sometimes giving those legal requirements met can be difficult. so if it's not done the right way with an experienced lawyer it could end up having a document that does you no good."

FOX 2: "Let's switch topics for a bit and talk about divorces. Family fighting is something that is obviously happening right now inside many homes." 

"Well, we've seen what's happened in China, where divorce rates are going through the roof. and unfortunately, you know it's something when you're spending 24/7 often with your spouse that's likely to happen here too, so it's a concern," Danielle said.

"We really caution people there's no reason to rush and seek divorce. Courts are frozen right now except for emergency matters," Andy said. "Anybody who is contemplating divorce we really encourage to you wait. Don't rush into anything in these difficult times, because it's not going to get you anywhere anyways. We certainly don't want to see the skyrocketing rates that have been reported in china to hit here in the U.S." 

FOX 2: "Let's talk about scams."

"Unfortunately times like this a lot of individuals try and take advantage of people, especially the vulnerable individuals. And we've seen reports from the IRS and the attorney general where they're concerned about what's going on. there have been telephone scams, there have been e-mail scams. sometimes you're getting texts that's not anything where we want people to give personal information or respond to," Danielle said.

"We saw a lot of this the last time this country went through recession and we're certainly starting to see it again now," Andy said. "It's very troubling. But there has been a lot of examples out there where people are calling or texting and saying, 'Hey, I need some personal information from you to help process your stimulus check." That's just not true. Nobody needs to respond to calls like that. stimulus checks are going to come automatically. So you don't have to give your personal information to somebody who e-mails you or calls you or gets an e-mail sent to you saying, for example, 'Your social security benefits have been frozen because of the pandemic. Click here to reactivate them.' Those are scams."

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