In this time of great uncertainty, some people aren’t leaving things up to chance: Estate lawyers say they’ve seen an uptick in healthcare workers planning their last wills and testaments.
“New York is a hot zone — the hospitals are a furnace and the hospital floor are the fires,” said Jon Richards, a doctor affiliated with three area hospitals including Mt. Sinai. “I’ve been making rounds every single day on a floor with nothing but COVID-positive patients.”
So the 36-year-old surgeon and podiatrist, who has a six-month-old daughter with his doctor wife, decided to draw up a will to prepare for the girl’s guardianship should something happen to the couple. “We’ve talked about a will in the past, but now things are … more real.”
His $800-an-hour lawyer in New Jersey is finalizing it within the next few weeks. “Getting a will isn’t cheap,” Richards said, “but there’s no price I wouldn’t pay to avoid uncertainty.”
He’s not alone.
“Many first responders or their spouses are reaching out,” said Natalie Elisha Gold, founder of Manhattan’s Gold Legal Group, who’s been fielding more requests from frontline workers over the past few weeks.
“It’s been incredibly busy — it’s crazy,” she said of the surge. Inspired by her own sister, who is a nurse at a busy Long Island hospital, Gold is offering a no-cost will to all healthcare workers.
Among those she’s helped is Sydney Baumblit, a 26-year-old critical care nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center ICU.
“I never thought I’d need a will at my age, but … last night I had a 23-year-old patient on a ventilator,” said Baumblit. Concerned about her fiancé, Travis, Baumblit made sure he wouldn’t bear a financial burden should anything happen to her. “I never set up a beneficiary for my bank accounts and I want to know that, no matter what, my fiancé will be taken care of.
“I feel better that I took care of something that was important,” she added. “I would never want my loved ones to have to make these decisions on my behalf.”
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