At Gudorf Law, our mission has always been to help our clients protect their families and prepare for future developments, whether anticipated or unforeseen. The current COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the need for planning and protection, even as it has made it necessary to change the way we offer services. In this time of rapid-fire changes, though, one thing has not changed: our commitment to helping you protect yourself and your loved ones. We are still here, working with you and for you, and doing everything within our power to keep you and our staff healthy and safe.
Evaluating Your Planning Needs in Light of COVID-19
You may have created your estate plan with a hazy, far-off, hypothetical future in mind. Now that we are grappling with a pandemic, it is important to take your estate plan out and review it to be sure it will meet your needs during the crisis at hand, and beyond. If you don’t have an estate plan, but the coronavirus pandemic has made you aware of the need for one, we can help you take action.
An estate plan is more than just a will or living trust. Everyone, regardless of net worth or family status, needs certain documents in place in case of a sudden medical emergency. These include:
- Power of Attorney for Healthcare: This document allows a person you choose (your agent) to make healthcare decisions for you on your behalf if you are unable to.
- Living Will/Healthcare Directive: This document allows you to express your wishes about your medical care when you are unable to communicate them. It provides essential guidance to your agent under a healthcare power of attorney, and your medical providers.
- Durable Financial Power of Attorney: This document lets your chosen agent pay your bills, manage your financial assets, and make other time-sensitive financial decisions for you if you are incapacitated.
- HIPAA Release: Because of federal laws that protect your privacy, your doctors may be unable to communicate about your medical condition to your loved ones without a HIPAA release.
Of course, we are available to help with all of your other estate planning, elder law, and tax planning needs at this time as well, including updating wills and trusts.
Taking All Possible Measures to Keep Our Clients and Staff Safe
We are continuing to meet with clients in the ways that best serve their needs. We take very seriously our clients’ concerns about avoiding infection with the coronavirus, Gudorf Law Group is available for:
- In-Person Meetings. We continue to meet clients in the office as needed. We have trained our staff in medically-recommended practices. We are observing frequent hand-washing, maintaining appropriate social distancing of at least six feet, and sanitizing “high-touch” surfaces such as phones, door knobs, light switches, conference tables, desks, and chairs between all client meetings. We are also making hand sanitizers and packages of tissues available to clients, along with appropriate disposal bins. Naturally, if any staff member feels unwell or believes that they have been exposed to the coronavirus, they will not be coming into the office.
- Zoom Video Conferencing. Technology is a wonderful thing. We have embraced video conferencing via Zoom, a free service available on computers, tablets, and phones. This is a great option for a “face to face” meeting if you want to limit your exposure to others. (If you’re unfamiliar with Zoom, there are tutorial videos available to help you get started.)
- Telephone Conferencing. If you don’t have access to video conferencing technology, or simply feel more comfortable meeting over the phone, we are happy to work with you via telephone as well.
Our mission is to protect not only your peace of mind regarding your planning needs, but your peace of mind about your health during this uncertain time. We may be in the midst of an unprecedented crisis, but we will get through it as we have with other difficult times: together, with compassion for each other. Be well, and please contact Gudorf Law Group to let us know how we can help you through the current challenges.
See Gudorf Law Featured on WHIO 7 Discussing COVID-19
See the full article here.