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. 


Subscribe to our newsletters

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


Latest Blog Posts

There are various ways to plan for the handling of your remains after death, as we discussed in Part I of “How to Handle Remains in Washington State.” What option you choose will likely turn on some combination of your…

Death is a part of life. Like taxes, there's no avoiding it. Also, like taxes, you may not like thinking or talking about the subject. However, if you think about death and how to handle your remains from a planning…

Every child deserves love, stability, and consistency. Is there a child in your life that you have considered adopting, perhaps because they are the child of your spouse or a child you are fostering? Perhaps there is an adult in…

The thought of losing your home or its contents in a disaster is a scary thought. Loss of life, destruction of irreplaceable items such as home movies, photos, and heirlooms make it unconscionable. But as we know in life, sometimes…

Spoiler alert: If you’re doing everything around the house (or at work) because you’re living (working) with a bunch of incompetent fools, or so they’ve led you to believe they are, you’re being manipulated. So pervasive is this phenomenon, there’s…

If you've created an estate plan, you've already spent a good deal of time thinking about what will happen to you if you become sick, incapacitated, or die, including where you will go (literally) when you die. After all, you don't want your…

If you're 18 or older and live in Washington State, you can legally change your name to anything you want as long as you're not doing so to commit fraud. For example, if your goal is to change your name to evade…

Your estate plan should ensure your special needs child experiences the best quality of life they can, that the assets upon which they will rely will last as long as possible during their lifetime, and that their eligibility for public services will be maximized. Learn more.

Popular culture is using the moniker "America's daughter" to describe Gabby Petito because she could've been any of our daughters. Learn how to talk to your daughter about the signs of domestic abuse.

When a couple decides to divorce, and one spouse is unable to support themselves, spousal support becomes a hot-button issue. Learn how to mitigate conflict and move forward.