Estate Planning

Planning for Special Circumstances

Planning for a Pandemic

by Rania Combs

My children asked me yesterday how many times in my life the world has dealt with a pandemic like COVID-19. I couldn’t think of any other.

COVID-19 Has Caused Significant Disruption

In the past, we’ve had illnesses like Swine Flu and Ebola that have affected isolated communities; however, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced any illness that has caused such significant disruption to the world.

Several countries have shut their borders. School districts and universities have canceled live classes. The NBA, NHL, and MLB have suspended their seasons. In certain countries, the number of critically ill people is overwhelming available medical resources.

It’s disconcerting. And while it’s important to stay calm, it’s also important to understand the gravity of the situation and take necessary precautions.

Protecting Yourself During the Pandemic

Taking necessary precautions means not only practicing good personal hygiene, making sure you have enough non-perishable food and medicine in case you’re quarantined, and enough hand sanitizer, disinfectant spray and cleaners, but also confirming that your estate planning documents are in order.

If you have a Will, this would be a good time to review it to make sure it still accurately reflects your goals and objectives. If you have a medical power of attorney, consider if you still trust the agents you appointed to make medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated. And if you have a durable power of attorney, consider whether you still trust the agents you appointed, and all the alternates, to handle your financial affairs.

And check in with those you’ve appointed as your agents. Remind them where you have stored your documents so that they easily access them if needed.

Getting Through the Next Few Months

Some experts estimate that 40-70 percent of the US population will have contracted the virus in the next year and a half. Most cases will be mild. However, people who are elderly, have underlying disease, or compromised immune systems face an increased risk of significant illness and even death.

So take good care of yourself. Stay away from crowded places. Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds, and avoid touching your face, nose, and eyes.

For more information on preventing the spread of COVID-19, visit the CDC website by clicking here. For a summary of CDC recommendations for adults over 60, read: CDC Tipsheet.


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