In a seemingly already chaotic world, the rise of COVID-19 (or more commonly called the novel coronavirus) has sparked a lot of uncertainty. Although Missouri has not experienced any significant disruptions, it is widely expected that the virus will eventually impact us all in some way. Those who are likely to be affected most will be older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes and lung disease.
That being the case, it makes sense that we all should pay close attention to how best we can prepare, not only for ourselves, but also for the well-being of our loved ones. In addition to following certain preventative care guidelines, you should also consider planning ahead. The first thing that the CDC recommends is to create a household plan of action before the virus reaches you or your area (such as planning for those who might be at higher risk in your household, identifying aid organizations in your community and creating an emergency contact list). In connection with that type of planning, now is a critical time to ensure that you’ve got your medical and financial affairs in order. Of course, this type of planning is important any time. But situations like this underscore that importance like few others.
If you or a loved one become sick, are required to self-quarantine or need to spend time in the hospital, having a plan in place that addresses medical and financial matters will be invaluable. Sadly, most people fail to realize that (arguably) the most important part of estate planning is not what happens when you pass, it’s what happens when you’re alive but unable to act because of sickness, disability or other incapacity.
For example, if you are quarantined, do you have a power of attorney authorizing someone else to be able to take care of your financial or business affairs? If you require an extended stay in the hospital, have you designated someone under a healthcare power of attorney to assist you with making medical decisions? And, in the event that something truly unfortunate happens, do you have a will or trust that manages distributions to your loved ones?
Even if you have put plans in place in the past, you should review your documents carefully. Has anything changed? Does the plan still make sense? Are your documents over five years old (if so, some of them run the risk of being “stale”)?
If you need help making sure you have a plan in place that protects you and your family, give yourself a measure of certainty and contact our office today.
*This article is intended for information only and is not intended to be construed as legal advice. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. If you would like further information regarding the novel coronavirus, please click here to be redirected to the CDC's website.