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HowThis Pandemic Highlights the Necessity of Planning for the Future A Little Planning Now Can Avoid Big Problems Later
I hope that wherever and whenever you’re reading this, you are all safe and healthy! The COVID-19 pandemic has been moving so quickly that it’s impossible to predict the state of things by the time you receive this newsletter. As I write this, I’ve been ironing out the logistics of operating my office remotely and implementing a “home-school” curriculum for our two oldest kids. I am grateful for my kids’ teachers, who continue to post lesson videos online. I’ll admit I’m learning a lot in my new elementary science classes. If you’re like me, many things are up in the air at the moment. One thing is certain though: This pandemic reminds us that health concerns can arise at any time, often without warning. Nowmore than ever, it is important to make sure our loved ones know how to handle our health care and financial decisions if we’re unable to do so ourselves. At the same time, it’s equally important to make sure they have the legal authority necessary to carry out our wishes if we’re unable to communicate them. In the last issue, I discussed some of the basic documents involved in almost all estate planning situations. These included both a medical power of attorney (MPOA) and a general power of attorney (GPOA). An MPOA , also referred to as an advance directive, establishes who will make medical care decisions on your behalf when you are no longer able to make them for yourself. It also provides you with the option of giving specific or general instructions about the kind of treatment you want to receive. A GPOA establishes who has the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf when you lack the capacity to make these decisions. The scope of the authority given can be broad or narrow, depending upon your specific situation.
support given to you and specify under what circumstances you may want your family to discontinue that support. It also eliminates the confusion about who should make decisions if you’re unable to do so. The decision to discontinue life support can be excruciating for families to grapple with. That is why it is best to make your wishes clear and to relieve your family of infighting and painful decisions. Please note my office, as of the time of this writing, is closed to the public. However, I am happy to visit with you over the phone. While I always prefer to meet with people face to face, these last few weeks have shown that I can often provide legal help remotely, without the need to expose clients to unnecessary risks. You can reach me by phone at 319-899-1492 or by email at email@example.com .
The significance of these documents has been more apparent lately, as we learn about the complications and treatment options of the pandemic. One such treatment, which has gotten a lot of coverage lately, is the use of ventilators in severe cases of COVID-19. Many people think of ventilators as an extreme form of life support. However, ventilators are commonly used to treat severe pneumonia and other respiratory problems like those caused by extreme cases of COVID-19. People can even be fully awake while on a ventilator. However, people commonly choose to be sedated because ventilators use a tube that goes into the windpipe through the nose or mouth, which can be uncomfortable. In any case, even if a patient is conscious, it is extremely difficult to communicate at all, let alone convey detailed instructions. Other forms of life support include CPR, defibrillation, dialysis, feeding tubes, and IVs. An MPOA allows you to control the extent of life
-Daniel J. Anderson
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