We trust you and your family are all well in light of the upended daily routines these days.
OUR COMMITMENT TO YOU DURING COVID-19/CORONAVIRUS
At STEELE LAW FIRM, the health and safety of our clients, team members, and friends of the law firm are top of mind amid concerns about the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
As estate planning and probate attorneys, our practice is dedicated to serving our most vulnerable citizens, including seniors, those who are ill, disabled, experiencing mental health challenges, and children with special needs. We are committed to ensuring everyone’s safety and making it easy and accessible for our community to get their estate planning questions answered and documents in place.
Rather than focusing on the negative, I want to give you some tools to empower you and your family. One thing that will allow you to rest easier during this time is to make sure you and your loved ones have your estate planning in place. That way, if needed, someone can step in and make decisions to keep your family healthy and functioning.
ENSURE YOUR BASIC ESTATE PLANNING IS DONE AND UP-TO-DATE
Everyone should have these three basic documents, regardless of their wealth or health:
- Advance Directive for Health Care. This allows someone you have chosen (your “agent”) to make medical decisions for you (in consultation with your physicians) if you were unable to make those decisions for yourself. It also gives you the opportunity to convey your thoughts and wishes to this person regarding end-of-life treatment and any restrictions you may have regarding your care.
- Power of Attorney for Property. This document allows someone to handle your finances for your, like paying bills and making other time-sensitive decisions, which also makes things much easier for your family if you should become ill for a time.
- HIPAA Release and Authorization. This authorizes those you designate to access your protected health information so they can make informed medical decisions if you are unable to do so.
If you have children over the age of 18, keep in mind that you no longer have the parental legal right to make decisions for them or access their health care and financial information. If they do not have the three basic estate planning documents in place: Advance Directive for Health Care, HIPAA Release and Authorization, and a Power of Attorney for Property in place, you may find yourself in a position, as a parent, where you are unable to make medical decisions, deal with their bills, or learn about their current health status. Now is the perfect time for your adult children to get this done.
If you or a loved one is in a nursing home, keep in mind that many nursing homes in the metro Atlanta area have restricted access and are no longer allowing relatives and friends to visit. If affairs need to be handled for someone in a nursing home, having a recently signed Power of Attorney can be critical. We can help you with the process of getting the estate planning for a nursing home resident established or updated.
We have also heard from many people who want to talk to us about creating a Will, Trust, Power of Attorney, Advance Directive for Healthcare, etc. – just in case – but they need more flexible options for doing so.
- Consultations. Thanks to technology, we have flexible options to meet with you or your family virtually. If you’re concerned about your exposure to the virus and prefer to meet virtually, you may opt to have your consultation or review meeting via video call.
- Webinars. We are putting steps in place to offer our educational Estate Planning Seminars as a webinar so you can view it from home and so our community can continue to stay informed about their estate planning and incapacity options. For many, our educational webinars are the first step to creating their estate plan. Check out our website (www.SteeleCounsel.com) or contact us directly to get more information about the webinars.
CONCERN FOR YOU AND OTHERS
We also ask for your assistance to ensure the safety of others. We are communicating regularly with our team to keep them informed and to ensure their safety and yours. If you are sick or symptomatic, please stay home. Per the CDC, if you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or suspect you may have it, you should avoid public spaces and ensure you are seen by a doctor. Again, we can meet with you virtually, if needed.
WE’RE HERE TO HELP
Please call us to discuss addressing your estate planning concerns. We’ll do everything we can to help. This is a challenging season for everyone. The fact that no one is alone and that we are all going through this together brings us so much comfort.
Thank you for believing in our mission and continuing to be a client and friend of the firm. Our thoughts remain with those being hit hardest during this time.
We remain committed to your Health, Happiness, and Legacy,
Stephanie L. Steele and the Team at Steele Law Firm