As COVID-19 Spreads, a Health Care Power of Attorney Is Essential

As COVID-19 Spreads, a Health Care Power of Attorney Is Essential

If you don’t have a full estate plan in place, including a health care power of attorney (POA), now is the time to get one squared away. The coronavirus pandemic is changing priorities for many people, and estate planning should be at the top of the list. Too many people don’t realize how an estate plan’s key elements can help if you become sick or die from the virus.

Should both you and your partner fall ill simultaneously, as seems likely given how contagious coronavirus is, it’s best not to name them as your agent, or at least not as your sole agent. A health care POA will allow you to appoint one or more people to make medical decisions on your behalf when you aren’t able to.

Though it’s critical to have the document in place, it’s even more important to name the right person or people as your agents in it. People often give little thought to this decision and designate their spouse or oldest adult child as the agent. That can be a mistake.

These days, there’s an added advantage to naming more than one person to act for you. When more people are likely to be ill simultaneously or travel is restricted, a health care POA can allow another agent or agents to act on your behalf should one be unable to do so. 

Naming only one agent can put a lot of stress and pressure on the person making the decisions. Therefore, it can help have two or more people talk with the doctors and discuss the issues before making decisions.

If you don’t have a health care POA, the court will name a guardian or conservator who will act on your behalf. That process will be public, cost money, and take time. It could also be messy if several individuals decide the court should appoint them and not others. Much more advantageous is to select the agent or agents yourself and prepare them ahead of time rather than risking the court deciding for you.

We can help draft a health care POA to meet all of your needs while giving you the peace of mind you want. Call us today at 206-926-9848.

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