There are plenty of reasons to get started on your estate plan as soon as you can. While you might feel healthy or young now, the reality is that anything could happen to take that away from you or result in your death. From a random pandemic to a car crash, there is always a risk that you’ll end up being unable to care for yourself or pass away unexpectedly.
Since there are so many serious illnesses going around now, it’s a good time to talk about the coronavirus and what to do to create an estate plan that protects you. While this is a global crisis with horrible consequences for some people, this is also a wake-up call for many people in America who felt that they were invincible.
There’s no question that the coronavirus is no longer just a threat: It’s a reality. That’s why it’s important to talk to those you love about your health care wishes and what you want to have happen if you fall ill, require a ventilator or pass away. This is a good time to talk about setting up a health-care proxy and deciding who you want in charge of making medical decisions for you.
A health care proxy, also known as a durable medical power of attorney, appoints an agent who will then express your wishes to medical teams and others. They will do this since you can’t do so yourself, but they need guidance.
Can a health care proxy appoint an agent if you aren’t dying or terminally ill?
In some cases, you can have a proxy make decisions for you even when you are expected to survive. For instance, if you are under anesthesia and can’t be informed about changes in your condition, you could have a proxy present who could answer a medical provider’s questions about what you’d like to have happen. Similarly, if you were to be incapacitated by a virus, like the coronavirus, and couldn’t speak for yourself, that proxy could step in and provide the needed information to your medical team.
When you talk to the person you want to have as your proxy, make sure they know your medical treatment preferences, religious beliefs and feelings about health, illness, dying and the health care industry. Giving them a well-rounded look at your opinions will help them make decisions on your behalf that you would have been happy with making yourself.