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Two Years Later: COVID-19 & Estate Planning By Allyson S. Heller
Over two years after the “Stay at Home” order went into effect, with Omicron, many people still feel overwhelmed and helpless, which is why now, more than ever, it is important to ensure that you and your loved ones are adequately equipped to handle whatever challenges may arise.
Although having a living trust or will, directing the disposition of one’s assets after death, is a crucial part of the planning process, two equally important, but often overlooked, documents are the advance healthcare directive and durable power of attorney, which apply while someone is living but incapacitated.
An advance healthcare directive allows you to choose who would make medical decisions on your behalf if you were to become incapacitated. It also empowers you to set forth your wishes regarding important considerations, such as life support and organ donation.
A durable power of attorney on the other hand allows you to choose who would make financial decisions on your behalf and for your benefit, if you are living but incapacitated. For instance, who would pay your bills? Who would deal with financial institutions, social security, government agencies, etc. on your behalf?
Having a properly executed advance healthcare directive and power of attorney will ensure that you retain a voice if you become incapacitated and will negate the need for costly conservatorship proceedings.
Estate planning has always been important, but the pandemic has underlined the importance of planning with so many of us knowing friends and family who have struggled with COVID-19. Our office strongly recommends speaking with an estate planning after seeing the peace of mind achieved by many clients within the last year who have properly planned for the future.