Important Estate Planning Documents During COVID-19
With COVID-19 spreading across the globe, many people are starting to think about the “what if” scenarios in their lives. After all, there have been more than 1.5 million reported cases in the U.S. Before you start to worry, there are some essential documents that you need to update during this pandemic.
Essential Documents for Your Estate
If you become ill with COVID-19 and don’t have the right estate planning documents in place, you could face severe medical and financial risks. Some decisions can be made without your consent if you’re unable to communicate your medical wishes. Your family might lose their ability to access bank accounts or other funds. In that case, your family might not have the authority to write checks for your insurance benefits or medical bills. Finally, your loved ones might face a lengthy court hearing to get the legal power to make those medical and financial decisions.
You Need a Health Care Power of Attorney
With a health care power of attorney, you can authorize someone to make medical decisions on your behalf. Unfortunately, medical emergencies can happen at any time. For that reason, you will want to plan ahead before the unthinkable can happen. Hospitalizations can be stressful for the entire family, and you don’t want to put an added burden on them to decide your medical treatments. In some extreme cases, your medical decisions might even be made in the courts.
The health care power of attorney is also known as a medical power of attorney. This document will authorize someone to be your patient advocate and make medical decisions on your behalf. When you have designated the medical power of attorney, you will want to pair it with a living will.
Create a Living Will to Protect Your Wishes
When you combine a living will with health care power of attorney, it is often called an advance directive. The living will should outline your actual wishes so that they are followed when you need medical treatment. This document will outline the type of medical treatment for certain situations. Some of these situations can include tube feeding, CPR, pain relief, artificial respiration, and organ donation. With a living will, your patient advocate will make decisions that will eliminate any confusion for your family.
You Also Need a Financial Power of Attorney
Besides your medical needs, you need to consider drafting a financial power of attorney for your family. With this document, you can alleviate some of the financial stress on your family. Your family can also avoid heading off to court for access to manage your finances. This document is critical since your family might not be able to get a court hearing because they are closed or limited.
When you create a financial power of attorney, you can choose a person who will act on your behalf. That person will be able to sign your checks, make deposits, and pay bills. Your power of attorney will also be able to sell your personal property or purchase insurance for you.
Guardianship for Your Children Is Vital
Finally, you need to create a guardianship for any children under the age of 18. With a guardianship, you can choose someone to take responsibility for their welfare. That individual will be able to care for the children while you are incapacitated. If you have children, you need to protect them from any potential problems in the future.
Speak to Your Estate Planning Litigation Lawyer
Even though you can complete many estate planning tasks at home, it’s crucial to speak to an estate planning litigation lawyer on how to proceed with planning. At the very least, you can take advantage of your extra time at home and start the planning process to finalize these necessary documents.
If you need help with estate planning during this pandemic, be sure to find the right attorney for your situation. At the Knee Law Firm, LLC, we can help you move through the complicated process of estate planning. Contact our office in Hackensack at (201) 996-1200 to arrange for a free consultation.