Although we are all a bit worried and unsure at this time, some things cannot and should not be avoided or put off to a later time. Now more than ever is the time to make sure that your affairs are in order, your assets are protected, and you have peace of mind. Now more than ever is the time to plan for an emergency, in hopes that you’ll never be faced with that situation. If you don’t have a Durable Power of Attorney or a Health Care Surrogate, what would you do if you contracted COVID-19 and were unable to manage your finances or make your own health care decisions? When it comes to estate and long-term care planning, “the early bird gets the worm.” Planning only becomes more complex, time sensitive and expensive as time passes. Procrastinating these important decisions will guarantee two situations, a court will likely decide what is best for you and it will cost substantially more than proactively planning.
Who makes decisions for you when you cannot? There are two primary documents that can give an Agent of your choosing the power to make decisions for you when you’re incapacitated. The first is the Durable Power of Attorney and the second is the Health Care Surrogate. These processes do not involve a court or public process.
Durable Power of Attorney is a document that delegates authority to one or more individuals to enter into or alter legal agreements and make financial decisions on your behalf. The individual, normally referred to as an “Agent” or “Attorney-In-Fact” should ideally be someone you’ve known for years, a person you trust and who is financially solvent. Typically, clients will choose a family member to take on this role.
The designation of Health Care Surrogate is a document that delegates authority to an “Agent” or “Surrogate” to make health care decisions on your behalf. For example, if you are unconscious or unable or speak for yourself, your physician would be able to confer with your surrogate in your stead. Therefore, it is important to communicate your concerns and wishes for treatment with your surrogate well in advance of a healthcare emergency.
Decisions regarding your health care are difficult to make. That’s what makes it so important to not wait until the last minute. In light of coronavirus, we are all trying to do our best- eating well, exercising, getting plenty of rest and maybe taking a few extra Vitamin C supplements. Hampton Law wants to help ensure that everyone stays healthy, but also has access to our services. We will be staying open during normal business hours in an effort to serve you during this critical time. In addition to in-office appointments, we can also host video conferencing or phone conferencing appointments for anyone who is practicing social distancing at this time. We’ve got you covered!