Planning Around COVID-19
Imagine if you find yourself in a situation where you become unexpectedly ill – unable to speak for yourself, manage your financial affairs, make medical decisions concerning your wishes… although scary, this reality is what many individuals are finding themselves during the Covid-19 pandemic.
We have been interviewed since the virus reared its ugly head and the most popular question asked is what advice we have for those who currently do not have any documents in place?
At Conti Law, our answer hasn’t changed since the outbreak of Coronavirus. Everyone over the age of 18 should have at the very least a financial power of attorney, health care power of attorney and living will. Depending on what assets are owned and the individual’s family makeup, a Last Will and Testament may be a good idea too.
Without these documents, we fear that an individual’s family may experience both financial and medical difficulties. Without the appropriate record, your loved ones may be unable to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to communicate your wishes. Bills may go unpaid and bank accounts may be inaccessible without a proper financial power of attorney. Not to mention the potential family infighting and strain over your medical care.
Without the essential and most basic estate planning documents in place, your family will have to go to court and request the legal authority to make these decisions on your behalf and to access your accounts to manage your financial needs. Normally, this wouldn’t be too great of an issue, but like all other businesses, the courts are either closed or have placed serious restrictions on their accessibility. This could delay the court’s grant of authority and may impact your health exponentially. It may also result in the court appointing someone you would not have personally chosen to act on your behalf.
Fortunately, with some simple estate planning, you and your loved ones can be protected from these foreseen situations. We recommend drafting a Healthcare Power of Attorney which includes a HIPAA Authorization and Living Will appointing a trusted party to act on your behalf as your medical advocate. In the Living Will you are able to outline and determine your desired medical treatment and end-of-life wishes, which include such things are CPR, the use of a ventilator, artificial nutrition and hydration, pain medication and donation of your organs and the performance of an autopsy upon your passing.
When creating a Financial Power of Attorney, you assign an Agent the legal authority to access your bank accounts and manage your affairs without court intervention. They have the ability to make deposits, sign checks, pay bills, sign contracts and agreements on your behalf, access and sell property, among other things.
Another consideration for those who have minor children, is to update or create a Last Will and Testament naming a Guardian to take care of your children if you are unable to do so.
If you want to create an Estate Plan providing you with the peace of mind that your family, assets and medical acre will be taken care of should you be unable to do so for yourself, we are able to help. At Conti Law, we have assisted thousands of clients with formalizing their wishes so that upon an unexpected illness or death, their families are able to focus on what’s important – YOU.