COVID-19: Protect Your Family’s Finances
The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is affecting our daily lives in many ways. The virus has created a global pandemic and has become a wake-up call to many who are not prepared for the crisis. However, there are still things you can do to protect both your and your loved one’s finances and health during this unprecedented time.
Get Your Documents In Order
It is important for everyone is to make sure their Coronavirus checklist includes certain legal documents to plan for a period of sickness or incapacity. If you are unable to make your own healthcare decisions or manage your finances, an agent appointed under a valid power of attorney can assist. Ensuring that these documents are valid and up to date will prevent further turmoil for your family if you fall ill.
Decide On Power of Attorney
A financial durable power of attorney grants an agent and an alternate agent of your choosing the ability to step into your shoes if you cannot act. This document should be revisited every few years. It is not a bad idea to sign an updated version every few years as well. Many financial institutions, including banks and investment companies like Edward Jones, will not accept a financial power of attorney that is more than three to five years old. They are also less likely to accept an out-of-state financial power of attorney.
Conservatorship Versus Power of Attorney
If the financial durable power of attorney is invalid, outdated, or will not be accepted, a conservatorship will need to be established with the court. A conservatorship is often referred to as a “living probate” because it requires working with an attorney to petition the court to appoint a conservator to manage an individual’s personal finances. The conservator is monitored by the court and is required to annually file reports and other pleadings. A conservatorship can be avoided with a proper financial durable power of attorney.
Consider an Advance Directive
In Oregon, the Advance Directive contains both a healthcare power of attorney and a directive to physicians. The healthcare power of attorney portion of the document allows an individual to appoint an agent and alternates to make healthcare decisions if the individual is unable to communicate their own decisions. Without a valid Advance Directive, a guardianship will need to be established with the court before another individual can make healthcare decisions for you. A guardianship also requires working with an attorney and annual filing requirements with the court.
How Can Oregon Estate & Elder Law Help?
Our office is happy to review your financial and healthcare powers of attorney to make sure they are valid in Oregon. We also offer telephone and video conference appointments. Please contact our office to set up a complimentary review.