The coronavirus pandemic has completely changed our way of life and it will continue to do so at least for the near future. As a young, healthy adult, you may be thinking that you do not need worry about the coronavirus. As cases have seen an uptick in recent weeks, severe complications from the virus do appear to mainly target the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions.
Still, even as a young adult, it is imperative that you do some basic legal planning as we navigate these uncertain and challenging times.
The Necessary Legal Planning Documents
Everyone should have a Last Will and Testament — commonly referred to as a Will. This is a legal document which states who will get your property and who will oversee settling your estate, when you pass away. Without a Will, State law will determine who is in charge and who will get your property after your death.
In addition to ensuring that your Will is completed, it is extremely important to complete your disability legal documents. This would include a Durable Power of Attorney, a Healthcare Power of Attorney, an Advanced Healthcare Directive, a HIPAA Authorization and a Living Will. These legal documents ensure — should you ever be incapacitated and in a hospital, or otherwise unable to make your own healthcare and financial decisions — that someone of your choosing will be able to make those decisions for you until you have recovered.
For instance, if you are incapacitated due to COVID-19 or other reasons, a person of your choosing will be able to speak with hospital doctors, access medical records, and even authorize medical procedures on your behalf. In addition, if you are incapacitated and in the hospital, your Durable Power of Attorney will authorize a person to make your financial decisions until you recover — such as paying your bills and accessing bank accounts.
Legal Planning with Small Children
This is planning is even more important if you have young children. By establishing a Will and other disability legal documents, you ensure that your children will be taken care of temporarily (should you become incapacitated) or permanently (should you pass away).
The failure to plan could result in your children being admitted into the foster care system — even if it is temporary.
Without a plan, your family is also required to go through a very emotional court process. The court will decide who will make your financial and healthcare decisions, and who will care for your children until you recover (or in the event of your death, until your children reach the age of 18). If you leave assets behind for your children, the court will decide who will manage those assets until your children reach the age of 18. This may include someone whom you wouldn’t have chosen for your children.
For more information regarding the implementation of this basic legal planning, please contact our office at (513) 241-0400 or use our contact form to schedule a time to speak with one of our attorneys!