It’s Tuesday morning, March 31, 2020. The Governor has issued his stay at home order, but legal services are considered essential services. So, we are still working from our Sanford office on a modified schedule. We will continue to serve our clients with your estate planning, estate administration, business planning, and real estate needs, but we will have to follow special procedures to protect you—our clients—and our staff from this awful virus.
To begin with, we are appointment only. To schedule an appointment, please call 919-842-5007 to make your appointment. You can also email us to make an appointment. The email address for each of us is our first name, followed by “@www.woodsdoster.com”. So, for example, to make an appointment with me please email Michele Shaw at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Before you arrive at our office, please know that we have cleaned and sanitized all surfaces as best we can. We will do the same thing to the conference room and waiting area after you leave. These are protections that we are taking because we want all of us to be safe!
When we send you a document for review; PLEASE read it carefully and let us know of any corrections BEFORE your appointment. We cannot accommodate social distancing or modified signings if we have to keep you in the office for corrections to be made.
If you need to sign documents, and you don’t feel safe coming into our office, we can accommodate you with a “drive-in signing.” When you make your appointment to sign documents, please tell our staff that you want to do “drive-in signing.” Then, when you arrive in our parking lot at your appointment time, we will come downstairs with sufficient witnesses and a notary public to get your document properly executed, without the need for you to get out of your car.
What documents should you be concerned with at this time? First and foremost, your HEALTH CARE POWER OF ATTORNEY. Please pull your health care power of attorney out, and re-read it. As the automobile insurance commercial says, life comes at you fast!
Are the people you named, to make medical decisions for you, still the best choices? Are they still available? Do you have a person named as a back-up, in case your primary health care agent is incapacitated?
If your named health care agent comes down with Covid-19, that person is going to be unavailable to make medical decisions for you. Even if your named agent is not so seriously ill that you would not trust their decisions, how could your agent get to you and your doctors to make those decisions, in this time of quarantine? If your health care agent is quarantined with Covid-19, you better have a back-up health care agent named to make decisions for YOU. Better yet, name a back-up, to the back-up, to the back-up!
Does your health care power of attorney still express your end-of-life wishes? How long do you want your health care providers to provide extraordinary means of supporting your life? Are you concerned about becoming addicted to pain-relieving medications, or not? Do you want your family to take all reasonable measures to keep you at your home if you are ill, or do you think that is asking too much of your loved ones? These are just some of the decisions that a properly drafted health care power of attorney should address.
When you re-read yours, if you are concerned that any of the decisions you made in your current health care power of attorney need to be updated, please contact us. We can prepare a new one for you that will express your current thinking on these and other issues.
In future issues of this blog, Grant and I will cover other documents that you should be thinking about. In the meantime, stay safe!