March 17, 2020
What if I catch COVID-19? What if I’m so sick that I can’t pay my bills or make medical decisions for myself? My family doesn’t know how to take care of me.
What do I do?
If you watch the news, you see the daily reports of more presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Maine. It’s almost impossible to miss right now. What happened across the country and the world certainly caused a lot of confusion and turmoil. Trying to figure out how to negotiate our everyday lives is no longer a simple decision. It might feel like the world is in chaos.
There are steps we can take to start to reclaim some of the control over our lives. Being prepared is one of those steps. I’m not talking about buying all of the toilet paper in Penobscot County. I’m talking about putting your legal documents in order. That way, if you catch COVID-19, your family and friends know what medical care you want. Someone can make financial decisions for you. Since you’re already here, you might as well get your Will done, too.
Advance Healthcare Directive
An Advance Healthcare Directive gives you the comfort you want in knowing that you have both designated someone to make medical decisions for you. You provide guidance for your medical Agent to obtain that care in one document. Without this document, medical providers might find themselves struggling to find someone to reach out to if you can no longer communicate your wishes. The State of Maine prepared a basic Advance Healthcare Directive that you can print out and complete on your own. It covers the basics to get you by. It can be found here.
Power of Attorney
A Financial Power of Attorney gives a designated Agent the ability to handle your finances. You’re protected if you need that assistance while sick. This document can grant a broad range of powers that cover everything from paying bills to filing your tax return on time this year. I consider this document the estate planning document most needed in life, but that most people do not have.
Finally, a Will tells your family what to do with what you own if you pass away. I know this is not something we want to think about. However, doing this planning is something we can do to try to protect our families and our assets. If you already have all of these documents in place, this is a great time to sit down and review them.
Make sure they are up-to-date and say what you want them to. If you don’t have these documents or if they need amending, contact us to schedule a meeting. This planning can take as little or as much time you need it to.
This information is accurate as of March 17, 2020. It is subject to change based on any new legislation.
Candace T. Augustine, Esq.