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Coronavirus and Living Will

From Our “Ask a Question” Mailbag: “I am worried about the coronavirus and living will. Should I update my Living Will? Just in case, what should I do?”

Peter Klenk, Living Will Lawyer.

Coronavirus and Living Will.

To be prepared for any illness that may leave you unable to speak for yourself, here is a quick checklist:

1. Review Your Medical Power of Attorney, Medical Directive, Living Will.

These names have become interchangeable to most people. Review whatever document you have and make sure that it names a “Surrogate” or “Agent” to speak for you if you are incapacitated.  Your doctor may need permission to try a new treatment, surgery, or to move you to a new facility. This document gives your trusted person the legal right to make these authorizations.

2. Share Your Medical Wishes With Your Surrogate.

You ask your Agent or Surrogate to carry out your wishes. But, if you don’t share your ideas and requests with the Surrogate, they cannot help you.  The Surrogate is supposed to step into your shoes, listen to the doctor, and review all the medical data as if they were you. Then, they are to tell the doctor what you would do with this information. 

For example, would you have the surgery or not?  Would you want a second opinion or not? And, in the end, would you decide to stop treatment?  These decisions are difficult for your Surrogate. They are double, so if they have to guess on your medical philosophy.

Your Agent should also carry out your wishes with regards to organ donation. If you arrive at the hospital and are a known organ doner, does your Surrogate understand your intentions? Some people only want to donate eyes or specific organs. Others could care less, take it all! Make sure your Surrogate knows your wishes.

3. Share the Medical Power of Attorney with the Agent. Electronically!

Your Surrogate cannot help you if they don’t have the document. In today’s world, that means providing the Surrogate with a scanned copy, which they can then keep on their computer or phone.

For example, what if you are in the hospital and your Surrogate is on vacation in Paris?  Having a hard copy in a drawer at home does neither of you any good. But, if your Surrogate has a copy on their phone, they can text it to the nurse’s station and start helping.

Provide a copy to your regular doctor also. They should add it to your electronic records for easy access. Further, have a copy on your fridge door. Ambulance crews regularly look there for relevant documents.

We provide our clients with an internet portal allowing them 24-hour worldwide access to their documents.  Having such easy access makes sharing electronic copies easy. Plus, if your children ages 18 or over have given you their Medical Power of Attorney, the portal is an excellent storage area. If your children have an emergency, you can access the document no matter where you are.

More Detail.

For more detailed information about Medical Powers of Attorney (Coronavirus and Living Wills), read my Article “Living Wills and Medical Powers of Attorney, All You Need To Know.”

In Conclusion: Coronavirus and Living Wills.

I hope you found helpful this short article about the Coronavirus and Living Wills. Also, I have included some links for more detailed information. Are you curious about having us draft a living will?  Contact us. Let our Estate Planning Lawyers walk you through this confusing process. Furthermore, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation. 

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