It is heart-breaking to see people afflicted with COVID-19 entering hospitals. As one person put it so aptly that the real tragedy is that people who are hospitalized can’t even see their families. Most tragically, many even have to say the last goodbyes through a video call or from behind a glass wall. It’s just heart wrenching!
In such a difficult situation and with the proper legal paperwork, we can make some things easier for ourselves and our loved ones, though no one can ever take away the emotional toll. If by chance you become incapacitated and are not able to manage your affairs, the following documents will assist your loved ones go through the difficult times a little easier. However, it’s absolutely crucial that you get these done prior to something happening to you and while you have the capacity to do so.
Taking care of your medical decisions. With a combination of Power of Attorney for Healthcare and an Advance Healthcare Directive, your assigned loved one can make your medical decisions in conjunction with the medical team in case you are not able to do so. These documents are easily executed and should not take long.
Continuity of your financial affairs. Using a Durable Power of Attorney for Asset Management, your spouse or a loved one can manage your finances and other worldly matters in your absence. Without this, your financial affairs will be on hold until you regain your capacity and ability to communicate. This is a fairly quick document to execute, so please don’t procrastinate.
Taking care of your minor children. If you are a single parent with minor children or your spouse is not available, it’s best to designate a temporary home for your minor children and document that so California Social Service knows where to place them temporarily in case of emergency. Additionally, you should nominate a guardian in your Will in case of your untimely death. Remember, only a judge can assign a guardian for your children, however, they will give your preference great weight unless it is not “in the best interest of the children.”
Taking care of your assets and making sure they get to your loved ones as soon as possible. Working with an attorney come up with a plan to pass on your wealth to your loved ones upon your death. There are several ways of doing this. You may look into creating a living trust or a similar instrument or some other method that works for you. Bottom line is that if you don’t do anything, there is a good possibility that all your assets will get stuck in a lengthy and expensive probate process run by a judge through a slow and cumbersome judicial system. Your loved ones may not get anything until 2-3 years later and only after paying a hefty fee to everyone involved.
So, it is absolutely imperative that these things get done while you have the capacity, because when you really need them, it’s probably too late!