At Burns & Hansen, we understand the rapid spread of COVID-19 is stressful and anxiety producing. An important step that all individuals can take during this time is to create an up to date estate plan. A comprehensive estate plan will take the uncertainty out of what happens to you and your loved ones in the event of illness or death.
There are three primary components to an estate plan: power of attorney (POA), health care directive, and a will.
- A Power of Attorney is a document that appoints a person or organization to “act for you.” The scope of a power of attorney can be tailored as desired, but generally an individual appointed to this role is able to manage all financial and property matters. This includes, but is not limited to: paying bills, selling real property, managing retirement accounts, and filing taxes.
- A Health Care Directive allows a person to outline any wishes they have regarding medical care and to appoint an individual to make medical decisions for them in the event they become incapacitated. This ensures that a person’s wishes regarding medical decisions are followed in the event they are unable to communicate.
- A Will is a document that instructs who receives your property after death. If you have children under the age of 18, a will also names the legal guardian(s) for your minor children. A well-prepared will can help avoid an expensive and time-consuming court process.
All documents (POA, health care directive, and a will) are essential to have when preparing for a medical emergency such as coronavirus. Our estate lawyers are available to help you understand what these documents are and how they can help you plan ahead.