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Idaho Estate Planning Your Powers Of Attorney During the Pandemic

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

The essence of estate planning is to hope for the best but plan for the worst. In fact, I firmly believe that my job as an estate planning attorney is to look down the road of the future and try to see all the worst possible things that can happen to my clients during their lifetime. My job is then to help them create a written estate plan that protects them while they are alive, and their family and loved ones if they were to pass away.

When I’ve done my job well, my clients walk away with a feeling of peace and comfort knowing that they have a good plan in place that protects them during their lifetime and provides for their family and loved ones as well. In fact, many of my clients tell me that they feel a great sense of relief when their written estate plan is in place.

We are confident that we can help you feel the same way. To help you get started we encourage you to download our Estate Planning Questionnaire. This is a simple document that you can type directly into on your computer and save or print and hand right on. Our clients tell us regularly that the Questionnaire made the process of getting their estate plan done very simple and easy. They also tell us that the Questionnaire provided them with a good deal of information to help explain the options they had and the choices they should be making. We encourage you to download it today.

We also offer a free 30-minute consultation to our clients to discuss the information they put on the questionnaire and answer their questions about estate planning. In fact, our goal is to educate each of our clients as much as possible about the options and choices they have when it comes to their own written estate plan. We don’t charge for any of this because we want our clients to understand exactly how their estate plan will help them before they make any commitments to hire us to help them get it done. We encourage you to call us for this free 30-minute consultation.

Having said all this, now let’s focus on why the powers of attorney that you have available to you may be important during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Power of Attorney for Finances and Property

If you were affected in any way by the Coronavirus, you would need someone to take care of your finances and property until you are able to do so again. This would include dealing with your bank accounts, paying bills, receiving and processing the stimulus checks that the federal government is proposing to send out to all citizens, and to take care of your house, car, and other property you own. Your property could also include your pets.

The estate planning document that gives you the ability to grab this power to someone else is called a durable power of attorney. This power of attorney is a global power. It covers every aspect of your life, except health care. The reason for this, is that a separate power of attorney takes care of health care decisions.

When we help a client create a durable power of attorney, we encourage them to make a list of at least three and possibly more individuals who could do this for them. We encourage our clients to choose their first or primary choice, then a successor, then an additional successor and so forth. In this way, there is only one person who holds this power at a time. If for any reason that person becomes unable or unwilling to serve, then the power passes to the next named successor. In this way, it is highly unlikely that all the people you have chosen would be unable or unwilling to help you take care of your property and finances.

Additionally, we often put provisions in a durable power of attorney that make it invalid until a doctor, physician, or other health care provider, certifies in writing that you are incapable of taking care of your own finances. By doing this, there is a safety in place for you, and for those you have chosen to give this power to.

Power of Attorney for Health Care

The health care power-of-attorney is similar but is entirely separate from the durable power of attorney mentioned above. The focus of the health care power-of-attorney is very narrow. This document grants authority to an individual to help you make health care decisions if you are unable to make those decisions for yourself.

The decisions that would be made under this power of attorney include what doctors you see, what medicines you take, what medical procedures you might receive, and if necessary, assisted living centers or other health care locations where you may need to be placed either temporarily or permanently.

Power of Attorney for Your Minor Aged Children

You should also consider the possible need for a temporary power of attorney for your minor age children. If you are incapable of caring for your children because you are affected by this pandemic, you may need to name someone else who can legally make health care decisions for your children. These types of powers of attorney can be created and made temporary for a specific period of time, or until you revoke them through another written instrument.

We encourage you to contact us to get your free Estate Planning Questionnaire and to schedule your free 30-minute consultation to discuss your estate-planning needs. We are confident that we can help you get the proper Powers of Attorney in place that will protect you and your family.

Enlist An Idaho Estate Planning Attorney To Help You

Our team of Idaho lawyers can help you with any of your estate planning or probate needs. Whether you are seeking to create or review an estate plan for yourself or would like to help a loved one, we are available to discuss your options and answer your questions at an initial free 30-minute consultation. Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a free consultation. You can also email us directly at lane@racineolson.com or stop by our office at 201 East Center Street, Pocatello, Idaho 83201. We will answer your questions and help you solve your Idaho Estate Planning problems.

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