by Mariah Heppe

We all know that life has been known to throw a few curve-balls, but I think it is safe to say that the majority of us did not see COVID-19 coming. In this time of uncertainty, planning for right now and the future has never been more important.

For example, did you know that a well-drafted Durable Power of Attorney will enable your agent to take care of your banking needs? A Durable Power of Attorney appoints an Agent who literally “steps-into-your-shoes”. Once appointed, your agent is authorized to carry out a wide variety of your financial to-dos. Need something from your safety-deposit box? Have your agent head down to the bank with a copy of your Durable Power of Attorney (and the key!) and they will be granted access. Do you need to sign loan paperwork at the closing attorney’s office? A Durable Power of Attorney enables your agent to get this paperwork done on your behalf. Do you need to withdraw some cash or deposit a social security check? Not an issue if you have appointed an Agent. We recommend that you execute a Durable Power of Attorney now so that if you are unable to leave your home in the future, you already have a plan in place!

Additionally, a Heath Care Proxy is just as important in today’s set of circumstances. A Heath Care Proxy is activated only when you are unable to make your own health-care related decisions and, most importantly, having one avoids the need to seek a Guardianship Appointment. Should you have a procedure coming up in the next few weeks, we recommend that you execute a Health Care Proxy to provide peace of mind to yourself and for your family members in these unsettling times. Massachusetts Court Houses are following protocol and limiting access to their courtrooms, which means that an Emergency Guardianship Petition could be delayed: yet another reason to get a Health Care Proxy done as soon as possible. Finally, access to your Medical Records is granted when a HIPAA Release is signed; the named family members in this document are able to get medical updates from the hospital, should you be admitted.

There is not a lot that you can control right now, however, obtaining these documents is something that you can. Once you have a plan, you and your family members will be more at ease, now and after this latest crisis passes.

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