The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a lot of unexpected legal challenges for many families. As many are facing issues with the authorization of necessary documents and health decisions on behalf of their loved ones. So many restrictions in visitation especially of the hospitals hence, people are worried about relating their wishes to their loved ones and who gets to handle and meet their health care needs. Many have asked, who can manage my health care decisions? How do I sign checks to pay the mortgage when I don’t have my check book? How will someone else pay my bills when they are not allowed to visit me in the hospital? How do I tell my family, who should not visit me, as regards my last wishes? and many other bothering questions.
Many of theses concerns and problems may seem complex, however, there are simple measures in place to tackle them all. Some basic estate planning documents are the most you need for the process of planning your estate which if done in time will take care of these concerns and wishes. Meanwhile, you can obtain these documents easily even some at no cost. Some of these documents include;
Durable Power of Attorney
This is the document that gives another the legal right to manage your finances and to pay your bills. It gives someone else the authority to access your bank account. Apart from the person authorized to do so by this document, no other person can write checks to pay your bills. You should have a Durable Power of Attorney for finances.
Health Care Power of Attorney
This is otherwise called the Health Care Directive. This is the report that gives another the position to deal with your medical services choices in a circumstance where you can’t do such. It approves your life partner, kids or other friends and family to associate with your PCPs to settle on your clinical choices. In spite of the fact that it is not difficult to get this archive as some medical services suppliers even give it out free of charge yet, many individuals don’t have it. Either in light of the fact that they’re not sure how crucial the report is or inspired by a paranoid fear of giving over the control of their lives over to another which is just a bogus presumption. Tragically, when they understand how wrong they are it is past the point of no return.
Other necessary documents
Other documents that are also vital in planning your estate and needed in solving other legal estate planning and control issues include; Wills, HIPAA waiver and Revocable Trusts. It is important to note that these documents can not be done on behalf of a person, not even the spouse nor children can write these documents without the consent and signatures of whoever is concerned. Which is why in this era of the pandemic, things are a lot difficult as one cannot access the hospital easily to get these things done on sick bed as most situations warrant. Getting documents signed is the most difficult part of the process currently, since one is not allowed into the hospital to see the patient. This makes going to the court the only option even in such situation where everyone knows what should happen.
Meanwhile, you should only authorize anyone to act in any of these capacities after a thoughtful consideration. Because of the importance and how delicate your estate planning documents are you should review them on a regular basis to ensure they are consistent with your wishes and reflect changes in case of a change of mind.
In a situation where these basic documents are not signed and in place before an emergency occurs, the family can possibly go to a probate court for a conservatorship. This gives them the right over his or her finances and medical decisions. However, the process involve is confusing, time consuming and expensive. So, it is better for families to plan ahead before a crisis or an emergency hits in order to avoid confusion and unnecessary complicated processes.
If you desire to talk with an estate planning attorney or have more questions and concerns about the subject matter, you can reach out to any of our Estate and Elder law attorney to guide you through this process.