Estate Planning For Teachers Returning to The Classroom

Posted by Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC on August 13, 2020

With schools reopening and alternative learning plans in place across the state of Tennessee, some teachers are still pushing back, worried that their respective districts are not considering their health and safety.

WMC5 reports that districts that have returned to the physical classroom are already seeing COVID-19 cases. The Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner explained the department had launched a new dashboard to keep parents updated about school schedules and methods of learning, which will change as more COVID-19 cases emerge.

While the state is prepared to make adjustments about how children learn, what happens when teachers are the ones contracting COVID-19. According to AARP, 1 in 4 teachers is at high risk for having severe symptoms of COVID-19.

How are teachers preparing for this? Estate planning attorneys across the country are seeing a spike in teachers seeking critical estate planning documents as part of their back-to-school checklist. We at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC know how challenging this school year will be, and already has become. Let us help you gain some peace of mind as we navigate this time of uncertainty. It’s what we do.

Estate Plans for Tennessee Teachers Returning to The Classroom

Even though districts have implemented social distancing mandates to keep students and educators as safe as possible from the spread of COVID-19, the reality is that while students may not experience the detrimental effects of the novel coronavirus physically, educators–especially those in the at-risk category– have a reason for concern.

While we hope that the plans in place protect all in the classroom, the likelihood of spread is great. Because of this, many educators and staff have begun the process of creating estate planning documents to prepare for tragedy.

But what types of documents do our Tennessee teachers need? Our estate planning attorneys suggest:

Advanced Directives: Advanced directives are those documents which outline your end-of-life wishes, or medical care request should you be unable to communicate them yourself. The documents included in Tennessee advanced directives are living wills and durable power of attorney.

Durable Power of Attorney: The durable power of attorney is a legal tool that allows you to name an individual to make financial decisions if you become incapacitated. This may include cash, bank accounts, investments, family obligations, claims and litigations, social security payments, debt and bill payments, taxes, and retirement payments.

Living Will: A living will is a legal document that gives instructions on what to do and not to do if you become incapacitated and are unable to make these medical decisions yourself. Such orders included in a living will include life-prolonging medical care, do not resuscitate, and palliative care.

When used together as your advanced directive, it leaves many of the stressful decisions that would be left up to your family or a medical provider answered should something happen to you.

We also suggest creating a will, as this can be changed and updated as well over time, and provides additional resources to your family.

Will: While living wills explain what you want to happen to you if you cannot make decisions yourself, your will declares what you wish to occur to your estate. This includes information on assets to beneficiaries, and can also include guardianship of any minor children you may have.

While there are other estate planning documents you may wish to create, having the basics in place will give you peace of mind moving forward. And if you need guidance on navigating the process, we’re here to help.

Estate Planning For Teachers: Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC

We will get through this trying time together. But we also know that the fear of the unknown has many of us wary to move forward. The estate planning attorneys of Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC want to help.

You’re worried about your job status, what will happen to your students, and what will become of your family should something happen to you. Though we can only imagine the hardship and heartache you are experiencing, we want to help you make any needed changes to your estate plans. While you are fighting for education for the children of Tennessee, we want to help you. Contact the estate planning attorneys of Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC today.

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