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Why a Healthcare Directive and a Power of Attorney are more Critical Than Ever 

By Brenda L. Wolff, Member

There’s no doubt about it.  These are challenging times.  As coronavirus spreads, more people are thinking about healthcare directives and financial powers of attorney.

A healthcare directive is a written document that lets you plan for your medical care when you can’t make decisions for yourself. It allows you to state your wishes for medical care when you are unable to speak for yourself. You also can appoint a family member or someone close to you to make medical decisions. A healthcare directive is a basic estate planning document that all adults should have, not just seniors.  COVID-19 has made having a healthcare directive more critical than ever.

The medical status of individuals with COVID-19, even those with seemingly mild symptoms, can quickly change.  In severe cases, you may rapidly become unable to communicate your wishes about what medical treatments you want or don’t want.  Your doctor will need to know if you have signed a healthcare directive and will place this document in your medical chart to avoid confusion about who has the legal authority to make decisions if you are unable to do so.  Thinking ahead to how you want your affairs handled gives the people you care about guidance on what choices to make when you no longer can.

It is equally important for you to consider nonmedical issues that could become significant in case of serious illness.  How will the bills get paid if you are sick for a period of weeks?  Who will make financial decisions if you cannot physically communicate?  A financial power of attorney is a legal document that gives a trusted individual the authority to act on your behalf in financial matters.

Getting your estate planning affairs in order requires a few simple steps.  Now, more than ever, it is important that you prepare yourself and protect your loved ones with a solid estate plan.

If you have concerns about your advanced directives, your NGC estate planning attorney can review your plan to make sure that it is up to date.  If you want NGC’s help with estate planning, have questions about your plan, or haven’t prepared your estate plan, give me a call or email me at: [email protected].  Let’s talk.