COVID-19 spurs many to set up wills, but it’s often too late


NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — As Arkansas’s COVID-19 hospitalizations increase, many people are having questions about setting up wills.

One attorney says everybody typically waits until they are in their 80’s to set up a will. But now that loved ones are hospitalized with COVID-19 things are different.

Jim Jackson, with Jackson Law Firm in North Little Rock, said people are calling him about getting living wills so that medical decisions can be made. But by the time they call him, it’s often too late.

“I’m just laying there knowing we could die and we don’t have things in order for our kids and we wouldn’t want them to have to face anymore stress,” Loretta Foster, who was hospitalized with COVID-19 said. 

Foster explains the spilt-second decision she made to reach out for legal help to set up a will while she was hospitalized. 

“I texted him because we both thought we were dying and we don’t have a will,” Foster said. “We know what we want pretty much but don’t have a will and I have an 18-year-old son, 13-year-old daughter and 25-year-old son.” 

The 50-year-old and her husband were both in the hospital struggling with COVID-19.

“Everybody wants to postpone it and wait till their in their 80s but now you have teenagers, 20-year-olds and 30-year-olds that are going into the emergency room and ICU for a long period of time,” Jackson said. 

“He was ready immediately to help me do that, mentally. I don’t think I could answer half the questions and stuff he needed,” Foster said. 

Jackson, said he’s received several similar messages from other people trying to do the same thing.

“I’ve gotten phone calls from children, adult children whose mother is going into the hospital, she’s no longer mentally competent because she cannot breathe, due to COVID and she can’t think and make medical decisions,” Jackson said. “Once she is in the hospital and they cannot go in with her, it’s just heartbreaking.”

But there’s been one main problem.

“It’s often too late, because you can’t get it notarized or witnessed. They need to be done before hand,” Jackson said. 

Foster said they were told that they were the lucky ones and now she’s offering advice to others.

“I recommend that you get your things in order. I tell you COVID is real,” Foster said.

Jackson said the same and advises everyone to get with a legal team now. 

Foster said she plans on getting a will once she’s fully recovered. She also said she will get vaccinated once she is cleared to do so.

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