The Coronavirus pandemic has caused many people to step back and think in a bigger picture way above their estate plan. There are many aspects of this crisis that can call out certain weaknesses in your estate planning documents and now is the time to re-evaluate these.
In certain estate planning documents, the language that is listed there may be perfectly fine for normal conditions but might not be able to assist you if you were to become sick during the pandemic or during a future pandemic. Here are the things that you should look over carefully if you need to revise your estate plan.
- Your living will: Your living covers under what conditions life sustaining treatments should be used to assist you. Many living wills will by default have a prohibition on intubation, which can be used to prolong life. Intubation and placement on ventilator are common treatments for the Covid-19 pandemic. So, take a second look at your documents.
- Durable power of attorney: Your durable power of attorney enables you to name an agent who will act on your behalf with regard to financial matters. A power of attorney can be springing or current. A springing POA only allows the agent to take over when you become incapacitated, whereas, a current POA becomes effective immediately. If you require that your agent seek out a doctor to get an official certification of incapacity, this could delay their ability to act on your behalf and add to the complexity.
- Health care proxy: A health care proxy is the document that is used to appoint someone else to act as your agent for making medical decisions. One of the challenges with this with regard to Coronavirus pandemic is that many family members might not be allowed in the room with you if you are treated. Make sure that your health care proxy contains a provision that authorizes electronic communication with your agent.
Need help figuring out how to update your estate plan or want to walk through your options first? Now is a good time to speak with a Pasadena estate planner. Our office is still open and helping our clients create and update their estate plans, asset protection plans, and business succession plans.