As the Covid-19 pandemic has swept across the nation and around the world, those of us who practice in the areas of Wills, Trusts and Estates have noted an increase in calls from clients alarmed by what they are seeing on the news and in their own neighborhoods. We typically field calls from clients interested in the more sophisticated documents found in the estate planner’s arsenal – Wills, Revocable Trusts, Generation Skipping Trusts, Lifetime Access Trusts, Gifting Trusts and the like. These days our clients are even more focused on a document that typically does not receive as much attention as these other documents – the advanced directives.
Advanced directives include health care surrogate designations and living wills. Depending on the state in which you reside these may be combined into a single document (New York and New Jersey for example) or in separate documents such as Florida. In either case, these documents give the client the opportunity to designate certain individuals to make health care decisions for them in the event the client is unable to do so on their own. In the case of living wills, the clients express their wishes as they relate to the use of life support and under what circumstances they wish to refuse such treatment.
With the very real possibility that some of our clients may be placed on a ventilator in the ICU, our clients have never been more aware or concerned about making sure that their wishes are clearly spelled out. In the past, these concerns often seemed far into the future but the pandemic has brought them very much to the present. Today, nothing may be more important than contacting your estate planning professional to confirm that your existing documents are consistent with your wishes or, even more importantly, if you have not considered these issues at all. It is critical you take the time to thoughtfully consider the content of your advanced directives.
The attorneys at Cole Schotz are prepared to assist you with these difficult decisions as well as any other questions you may have relative to your estate planning needs.
As the law continues to evolve on these matters, please note that this article is current as of date and time of publication and may not reflect subsequent developments. The content and interpretation of the issues addressed herein is subject to change. Cole Schotz P.C. disclaims any and all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this publication to the fullest extent permitted by law. This is for general informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Do not act or refrain from acting upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining legal, financial and tax advice. For further information, please do not hesitate to reach out to your firm contact or to any of the attorneys listed in this publication.