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.

Give the gift of estate planning this holiday season and receive 15% off. 

STAY UP TO DATE

Subscribe to our newsletters

 
Subscribe to one or more of our newsletters, delivering meaningful insight on topics that matter to you and your family.
ebl home subscribe image

FURTHER READING

Latest Blog Posts

If you and your partner reside in Washington state and are unmarried, you each might qualify for the legal protections availed to you by law by classifying your relationship as a committed intimate relationship.

One of the greatest gifts you can give your family is to build an estate plan while you are alive and well. Estate planning allows you to formally communicate your wishes so they will not be up for interpretation by…

A co-executor can help facilitate the distribution of assets, minimize conflicts, and provide much-needed support to grieving families.

The law makes it easy for people to get out of bad marriages. Washington, like most states, acknowledges no-fault divorce. This means that if you want a court to dissolve your marriage, all you have to do is file for…

Washington state’s laws on non-marital relationships, including committed intimate relationships (CIRs), can be convoluted, especially in the absence of a cohabitation agreement. Given the ambiguity that exists for unmarried partners in Washington state, thinking about the future and what it could look like is more important than ever. This is especially true in terms of aging, incapacity, and death. Fortunately, you can address each of these issues in a comprehensive estate plan.

Prenups and postnups can strengthen a marriage, given how they require relationship partners to put their cards on the table for each other to see, offering transparency and peace of mind. Despite their similarities, there are a few significant differences between the two.

Child support is one of the most contentious issues in divorce cases where parties have minor children. Even though Washington state law uses the same complex mathematical formula to determine the amount of child support for each child, there is…

Family law and estate planning often intersect. This is particularly true when contemplating divorce, remarriage, or blending families.

At some point during your divorce case, friends and family members whose own marriages ended in divorce probably told you that it gets better, and it does. Of course, from your perspective, getting out of a bad marriage might be…

Co-parenting over a long distance when you are a non-residential parent does not have to equate to sacrificing involvement in your children’s lives. But it likely does mean you will have to make tweaks in your communication and parenting style to accommodate the new living arrangement.