Planning for the Unexpected

The sudden rise of the coronavirus, COVID-19, has left many unprepared and confused. There are numerous reports of shortages of antibacterial hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, and even toilet paper. While we can’t predict when something like COVID-19 might strike, we can take steps to help reduce the stress on ourselves and family members in an unexpected crisis.

Designate a family member who will check on elderly relatives. Make sure everyone knows who will responsible for checking in with an elderly loved one each day. Also set up a process for notifying other family members of an elderly loved one's condition – this may include sending an email, text messaging, or phone calls. The method is not as important as agreeing to a process and sticking to it, so all family members stay informed.

Seek medical advice in the event of a health care crisis. There has been a great deal of reporting about COVID-19, and some of it has been inconsistent. Reach out to your trusted medical team to understand what you and your loved ones should be doing in this, or any, health care crisis.

Make sure someone knows how to get your bills paid if you are unable to. This type of power can be provided to an agent under a financial power of attorney. Powers of attorney can include numerous powers, so it is critical to talk with legal counsel before signing any type of legal document that gives someone else authority over your finances.

Be sure there is an accurate list of medical prescriptions readily available in your home. If you become ill, it is important that someone knows the medicines you take and the dosage. Keep this in your home where others can find it, and make sure the list is dated, noting any time it is updated. Many of us assume that our doctor has an updated prescription list, but if you are seeing multiple specialists, that may not be true.

Designate someone you trust to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to. This should not be a form that is downloaded from the internet. Deciding what type of treatment, you want, where you want to live, and what should happen if you have a terminal illness are serious topics that should be considered carefully, then translated into a proper legal document.

Finally, if you do not have a will or a trust, now is the time to get one done. Avoid DIY wills or DIY trusts from the internet. You need a plan that is specific to your state’s laws. Plus, each family is unique. Their estate plan should fit their circumstances, not some fill in the blank version of a generic family or individual.

Planning for an unexpected health care or financial crisis can help relieve a great deal of stress for you and your family. We welcome the opportunity to help you come up with a plan that works for you.

If you have questions or need guidance in your planning, please contact our office by calling (707) 937-2701 or book an appointment . Remote appointments for online estate planning are convenient and effective.

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