Healthcare Directive PandemicThe coronavirus pandemic has caused me to tell the same story more times than I can count over the past few days:

When I closed down for the day last Friday, with a Shut Down Order for Minnesota due to the pandemic about to go into place, I figured I was in for a quiet few weeks. Instead, what I’ve found is a surge in new clients looking for wills and healthcare directives in light of the pandemic.

As we all self-isolate, people are given the time to think about their planning. Especially those who are at risk for Coronavirus, they are concerned about what will happen if they fall ill. They aren’t necessarily concerned about getting a will in place immediately (although many of them are), but what will happen if they become ill? Who will make the decisions?

What’s In A Health Care Directive

Each client has a different idea of what they want to be addressed in their health care directive. Some clients do not want mental health provisions in their documents. Others have specific religious beliefs that they want to be expressed. Some examples of provisions in a health care directive are,

  • Pregnancy;
  • Mental Health treatment;
  • Religious/faith beliefs for treatment;
  • Organ donation;
  • Performance of an autopsy;
  • Cremation/burial decision;
  • Life-prolonging medical treatment; and
  • Other “end of life” support and treatment.

These are simply general categories. For example, life-prolonging treatments can include,

  • Pain management medications;
  • Ventilators;
  • Dialysis;
  • Antibiotics; and
  • Blood transfusions.

Along with these direct medical decisions, there are also social considerations and the financial considerations that go along with medical treatment. While you (or your loved one) is sick during a pandemic is not the right time to first think of these things.

A Note of Caution

Even though the topics and areas are general, for each person, the specific provisions and decisions are unique. You don’t (and shouldn’t) just download a form from the web and blindly sign it. It could be the wrong form. Or it could be granting all kinds of powers and decisions that you don’t intend.

Working with an attorney, the document itself does not need to be complex. But it needs to be yours.

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Next Steps

If you’ve been considering a will or healthcare directive, or this is the first you are hearing of them and would like more information, call my office to set up a Legal Strategy Session and we can discuss what  is the best option for your situation – (877) AMAYERS

Andrew Ayers
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I work with business and estate planning clients to craft legal solutions to protect their legacies.
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