Why is it so important to have a power of attorney?
The coronavirus pandemic is sweeping the nation and causing a wave of illness and death in its path. The news today is fraught with ever dire reports about the number of people critically ill or dying due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. China already lost thousands of lives to the pandemic, and it has now spread to most of the world. In Europe, Italy and Spain are struggling to treat the sick patients arriving daily in hospitals. In the United States, the number of people infected with the virus is said to be doubling every three to five days.
Confronted with so much sickness and death, many Americans are becoming fearful. The nearly half of all Americans who had no estate plan in place are now rushing to create one, and fast. Estate planning attorneys have set up virtual consultations to help individuals without an estate plan to generate one so that they can rest assured their family is protected in the unfortunate event they were to pass away due to the coronavirus or another accident or illness. Those considering making an estate plan in this time of chaos will want to focus on the following basic estate planning documents which everyone should have.
A will is traditionally the most basic estate planning document that every American needs, regardless of their age or marital status. In your will, you can set out your wishes for who will receive which of your assets. Critically, you can also name a guardian for your minor child in the event you and your spouse both perish. Having a will gives you control over your assets and loved ones, thereby avoiding disputes and stress after your death.
While a will is of great importance, most people should not stop there. A will is still subject to probate, which will come at some expense and require time. A trust, on the other hand, allows your assets held within it to pass seamlessly to your named beneficiaries without the need for probate. Ask your attorney whether a trust would benefit you.
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney gives the named individual the power to make critical financial and healthcare decisions in the event you are disabled. Those who become critically ill due to the coronavirus will need loved ones to make these vital decisions. Without a power of attorney, confusion and potentially turmoil can result.
A medical directive gives you the ability to decide in advance what medical treatment you want administered if you are gravely ill. You can decide whether you want lifesaving measures, like resuscitation, to occur. These decisions are best made by you so that your loved ones are not forced to make these horribly tough calls. Act now to make an estate plan that will protect your family no matter what the future holds.