The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many things about the way that we live, work and prepare for the worst case scenario. Unfortunately, even during a time like this, many people still do not want to acknowledge the critical risk behind illnesses like the coronavirus—death. Dealing with any serious illness without estate planning documents in order is dangerous, but the risk is even higher now due to social distancing and hospital rules barring visitors. Why do you need critical documents in place now?
You Won’t Be Able to Do It in the Hospital
Due to COVID-19, hospitals and ICUs have created strict policies that make it difficult to visit your loved ones and even finalize legal documents. Ordinarily, as long as the signer is mentally and physically able to sign, health care proxies, power of attorney documents, wills and other estate planning forms can be finalized. However, these restrictions mean that critical estate planning documents might not be able to be signed in a hospital situation like they normally could be.
Preparation Is Critical
COVID-19 is a very scary pandemic, in that it can impact each of us differently. While some are asymptomatic and fine, others are rapidly incapacitated. The estate planning tasks that you pushed off for another day might be almost impossible to do if you are feeling ill and debilitated. Preparation always matters, but it matters now more than ever before.
The Estate Planning Documents You Need
While the right lawyer can assist you in customizing your estate planning documents to meet your precise needs and situation, you should have the estate planning documents below drafted, signed and finalized in case of an emergency:
- Will or Trust
- Healthcare Power of Attorney
- Durable Power of Attorney
- Living Will (or Additional Health Care Directives)
- HIPAA Authorization
- Guardianship Designation (if you have children under the age of 18)
How Much Time Does It Take?
The Law Office of Somekh & Associates can guide you through the best way to complete all of the documents above, as some must be notarized or have witnesses to be considered legally valid. If you do not take the time now to finalize these documents, you are leaving the door open for the inability to do so in the future. Now is the time to make sure that you have trusted members of your family or friends designated to make tough health care decisions on your behalf, plans in place for what should occur if you do not survive a serious illness and information on what you would like to happen to your assets after you are no longer here. We are here to help.
Keep Up to Date with the Latest Changes with the Law Office of Somekh & Associates
We offer a complete range of long-term care, elder law, estate planning, Medicaid planning, asset protection services, estate administration and probate. It’s our goal to prevent problems before they occur, and we work with hundreds of families to develop care options that work for their goals and their budgets. For a free 15 minute consultation, contact us by calling (718) 740-3300.