In light of the novel coronavirus, many Americans have decided to take a close look at the estate planning measures they have, or still need, in the event tragedy strikes. One such document many of us neglect to create is a power of attorney. The estate planning attorneys of Fellerman & Ciarimboli are here to explain.
What is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that gives someone the ability to make legal decisions on another’s behalf. For example, you are on a ventilator after contracting COVID-19. Since you are unable to communicate what you want to happen with your health care, as your named power of attorney, your partner, child, or another family member, can decide on what should happen to your health care.
Pennsylvania recognizes three forms of power of attorney:
- Durable Power of Attorney
- Simple Power of Attorney
- Springing Power of Attorney
The most beneficial type of power of attorney for most Pennsylvanians is a durable power of attorney as it not only explains your end of life/medical wishes but also any financial decisions that must be made while you are incapacitated.
Why Should I Add a Power of Attorney to my COVID Estate Planning?
Though COVID-19 death rates continue to decrease, the unfortunate reality is that this virus is specifically hurting our elderly and chronically ill populations. Because of this, it is imperative for those age groups who must engage in conduct with the public, to have these documents in place.
Consider this: You or a loved one contracts COVID-19. Though at first, the symptoms are manageable, over time, you find that you cannot treat the illness on your own. So you go to the hospital. Because of the mandates in place, your spouse cannot stay with you. In a turn of events, your condition worsens. You’re in the ICU, on a ventilator unable to communicate your needs. Now, things are looking bleak–your condition worsens. While you may have spoken with your spouse about your end-of-life care and wishes, you never documented it, he is not allowed to be with you and now, you are defenseless. The hospital does their best to care for you but unfortunately, they go against the wishes you would have preferred. No legal wrongdoing here, because you never had the proper documentation.
This scenario may seem ridiculous, but it’s an all too real reality many families have faced over the course of this pandemic. Do not become a statistic. Prepare for the future today with Fellerman & Ciarimboli.
Pennsylvania Power of Attorney: Fellerman & Ciarimboli
With all of the uncertainty in our world today, preparing for the future may add to your worries. But it’s critical that you do. If you are considering setting up a power of attorney or creating a living will, Fellerman & Ciarimboli is here to help. Contact our offices in Kingston, Scranton, and Philadelphia today for a free consultation.