COVID-19 has wreaked havoc across the country this year. In Texas, to date, we have seen more than 854,000 cases and 17,000 deaths. We have all heard the horror stories about people entering the hospital, being placed on ventilators, and becoming seriously ill or even dying in pandemic conditions with no loved ones allowed nearby for comfort. One of the scariest parts of this pandemic is undoubtedly the risk you take of not executing necessary documents which would result in you being unable to express your wishes regarding your care, especially with family or loved ones being unable to be with you.
This pandemic is a good reminder that we should all prepare for what will happen if we are incapacitated. Accidents can happen anytime, and, in a moment, you may be unable to express your wishes for your healthcare. You can prepare by planning for incapacitation by executing or updating your healthcare directive.
Update Your Healthcare Directive
None of us like to think about becoming seriously ill, but we should all plan for what will happen if we are unable to care for ourselves or even our families. Healthcare directives can help do that. An advanced directive is an order to your health care provider directing your provider, family, or surrogate decision-maker to manage your health care if you become incapacitated and can no longer communicate your own wishes. It is a good opportunity to ensure that your family knows your wishes for your healthcare prior to becoming incapacitated. There are a few different kinds of advanced directives:
- Directive to Physicians and Family or Surrogates;
- Medical Power of Attorney; and
- Gift by a Living Donor
You should update your healthcare directive whenever you have a major life event or:
- You get married, separated, or divorced
- Your spouse or partner dies or is no longer capable of making these decisions for you; or
- You receive a serious or terminal health diagnosis.
Even if nothing major changes in your life, you should have an elder law attorney review your directives every couple of years. Whenever you celebrate a new decade of life, give yourself this gift of security.
Having a plan in place if you become incapacitated is an excellent way to ensure that you receive the best health care possible, according to your wishes, if you become seriously ill with COVID-19. But it is a good idea to have these plans in place anyway in the event of any other tragic event.
If you need to put an estate plan and advanced directives in place, we can help secure that peace of mind for you and your loved ones. Hegwood Law Group offers comprehensive estate planning and elder law services. Call us at (281) 885-8826, or click here to schedule your strategy session today.