Over the last several weeks, everyone has been impacted by the Corona virus (also called COVID-19). Most people have been in some degree of social distancing or isolation. Businesses have slowed or closed altogether. Healthcare providers are doing the best they can despite being overwhelmed and short staffed. Stores are running out of supplies because people are panicking and over-buying.
So what can we learn about this? One lesson that we are seeing in our law practice is the importance of being prepared. Having your essential estate documents in place is crucial. A Power of Attorney for Healthcare and a Living Will give your family and loved ones the ability to act for you if you become ill. A Durable Power of Attorney allows someone of your choosing to act for you on things like paying bills and filing insurance if you are incapacitated due to illness. Having a Will and Trust will assure that your family is taken care of in the event of your death. Designating a Guardian for minor children may be one of the most important things a parent can do to make sure they are taken care of in case the parent dies.
One of the most common realities when it comes to estate planning is that people tend to put it off. Delay and avoidance are common when it comes to having one’s estate plan in place. Facing a health crisis like the Corona virus is a wake-up call. It makes us realize that the unexpected can come out of nowhere. Being prepared ahead of time is important but it’s never too late so long as you are able to act.
How do you go about getting these types of protection in place? First, you should assess what if any documents you have in place. Are they current and up-to-date? Do they name who you want? Do they cover illness, injury, incapacity, and death? Second, you should contact an experienced estate lawyer who can not only prepare what documents you need but can also offer the advice that is needed in order to protect you and your loved ones.