Legal Ease: Planning in the time of COVID-19

This viral pandemic has left many of us at home and concerned about uncertainty of the immediate future. The suddenness of events unfolding has created some anxiety around the question: What will happen if I get sick?

Thankfully, we have our wonderful Royal Inland Hospital staff working to make sure the answer to that question is that you will be cared for and you will get well again. 

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To add some comfort to the uncertain times, it is reassuring to have all of the legal paperwork in place for such an event as sudden illness, to be sure your life will continue to run smoothly while you are being cared for by health-care workers.

Kerri D. Priddle
Kerri D. Priddle

There are two documents that are useful in such a circumstance: Power of Attorney and Representation Agreement.

A Power of Attorney appoints someone to deal with the legal and financial aspects of your life for you if you should become incapacitated and cannot act on your own behalf. The person you appoint can step into your shoes and complete the real estate transaction you had pending, pay your bills or act as a litigation guardian for an ongoing legal matter.

A Representation Agreement appoints someone to deal with your health, well-being and comfort if you require assistance or cannot speak for yourself due to illness. Your representative can act as a substitute decision-maker or merely to assist you in making decisions for medical treatment or care. 

If you do not have these documents in place, most lawyers are speaking with clients by video or over the telephone to give advice and take instructions, with a follow-up meeting to sign the documents using a physical-distancing protocol depending on individual circumstances.

Planning ahead is one way we can all find comfort during this unique time. Also, many of us have estate planning on our ‘to-do lists and are now using the extra time we have while in isolation to finally get that accomplished and off the list.

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