The health crisis brought about by the COVID-19 virus has created an important opportunity to make sure that estate planning documents are up to date. Two points related to healthcare and COVID-19 were recently raised by Dean Mioli, Direct of Investment Planning at our partner, SEI:
- The healthcare proxy should be reviewed for blanket language, such as “I do not want to be intubated under any circumstance.” To go on a ventilator, you may have to be intubated. With so many COVID-19 patients needing ventilators, your client may want to review that directive.
- Decision-making by remote communication – Under normal circumstances, the health care proxy agent would have physical meetings with doctors and sign authorizations. Given the contagious nature of COVID-19 and a stressed healthcare system; the physical meetings may not be a possibility. Most health care proxies have not considered this issue. An attorney can add language that incorporates a provision that authorizes the agent to communicate with medical personnel using Zoom and similar types of communication, email and the use of electronically signed documents, etc. provided state laws permit electronic communications and signatures for this scenario.
Please check your personal estate planning documents to make sure that they reflect your current wishes.