As Oklahoma begins to loosen its coronavirus restrictions, many people, including those with children, are wondering what they can do to make sure they are adequately prepared if they contract COVID-19 and are left incapacitated. Two substantial issues that parents worry about is who will make financial and medical decisions for them if they are not able to make them for themselves as well as who will take care of their children in case they are left unable to do so.
If you are left incapacitated as a result of the coronavirus or any other condition, your loved ones will need to go court to have a guardian appointed. This was a costly and time-consuming process before the pandemic, and now it is even more challenging. Consequently, it is best to prepare in advance and make sure that you have created several critical estate planning documents that address incapacity.
Durable Power of Attorney
These documents appoint an agent to help address your financial affairs if you are incapacitated. Rather than wait for the court to appoint a conservatory, an agent appointed through a durable power of attorney has instant access to your financial accounts and can sign your name on financial and legal documents.
Health Care Proxy
A health care proxy appoints an agent to make medical decisions for you including what types of medications you would like to receive and what type of treatments work best. These proxies also contain language addressing the type of end of care support you would like to receive. For example, you might decide that you would not like any artificial means used to keep you alive.
Emergency Guardianship Proxies
These documents let you select who will care for your children in case you and your child’s other parents are both unable to care for your child. These documents avoid your loved ones needing to go to court. Parents are permitted to delegate to this guardian any powers that they have when it comes to issues like care, custody, or the property of minors. These nominations may be amended or revoked by appointing parents.
Trusts are also worth considering if you have minor children. Rather than pass on assets to children who might frivolously spend money, a creator can name someone they trust to control how distributions are made to children. This way, you can make sure that your children continue to receive support long after your death or incapacity.
Speak with a Knowledgeable Estate Planning Attorney
While it is a good idea to have each of these documents in place during the coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19 is one in a series of recent diseases like SARS and H1N1 that have suddenly uprooted many American families. By making sure that you have these documents in place now, you can avoid any undesirable hardships that you might later face.
If you have questions or concerns about the estate planning process, one of the best things that you can do is to speak with an experienced attorney. Even during these difficult times, attorney Jim A Lyon is available to help plan around challenges created by the coronavirus. Contact attorney Lyon today to schedule a free case evaluation.