Even if you have done comprehensive estate planning with the guidance of a qualified attorney, you may want to re-evaluate certain elements of your plan now, through the lens of the COVID-19 pandemic. Reviewing your estate plan with an attorney will provide guidance and piece of mind that your affairs are in order.
Why make changes? There are two uniquely challenging aspects of this pandemic that your current plan may not adequately address.
- Medical treatment for severe cases of COVID-19 frequently involves intubation and ventilator therapy to combat respiratory failure, and
- Quarantine and isolation orders blocking hospital visitors create some communication barriers between patients, doctors and family members.
So, how might these unique challenges impact your estate plan?
Living Wills. If your living will contains a blanket prohibition on intubation, you may want to reconsider that decision.
Durable Powers of Attorney (DPOA). Given the communication difficulties that may arise when a patient is hospitalized during the COVID-19 pandemic, you may want to revisit the terms of your DPOA to make it easier for your agent to act on your behalf.
Health Care Power of Attorney. A health care power of attorney allows you to appoint someone else to act as your agent for medical decisions. Under normal circumstances, this person would likely confer with your attending physicians in person and again, these in-person communications may be difficult right now. You want to add language to expressly authorize electronic communication with your agent.
The attorneys of the Law Office of Michael T. Huguelet, P.C. focus primarily in this area of the law and can advise you on whether your current estate plan accurately represents your wishes during this uniquely challenging time. Our offices are open and ready to assist you with preparing a new estate plan or tailoring an update to your estate plan during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Resource: ElderLawAnswers, Three Changes You May Want to Make to Your Estate Plan Now Due to the Pandemic, April 30, 2020