The Reality of COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Clients, Partners and Friends:

In light of the unfolding events we are all following closely regarding COVID-19, I wanted to share something important with you from an estate planner’s perspective which may help inform you as we endure this global health pandemic together. It concerns the execution of a Texas medical power of attorney.

As our clients who have executed this directive know, a medical power of attorney allows any individual to name a designated spokesperson to make medical decisions on the individual’s behalf if the individual for any reason cannot communicate with their doctor (i.e. coma, stroke, under anesthetic, etc.). Many people who do not have this directive in place may be asked upon admission to a hospital or other health care facility to execute one.

My concern is that as the COVID-19 crisis continues, it may become very cumbersome if not impossible for many individuals to properly execute this directive in a hospital setting. The medical power of attorney requires either two witnesses or a notary, and neither may be available if hospitals are forced to put strict limits on who comes in and out of the facility. Notaries may not be allowed entry and doctors/hospital staff cannot serve as witnesses. This goes for all types of health care providers and facilities.

This directive is vital to your care and needs to be done NOW. To be clear: You do not need a lawyer’s assistance to complete this document, but if there is anything in this document that you do not understand, you should ask a lawyer to explain it to you.

That said, we feel a duty to our community as practitioners and as citizens to adjust our planning procedures as follows:

1. Until March 31, 2020 (at which point we will reassess), all client conferences will be conducted by telephone or video conference.

2. Any document signings will be conducted remotely and with the utmost care to prevent any potential community spread.

3. BOOK LAW FIRM will be conducting a Facebook live session on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. to answer any questions regarding planning, responding to the crisis, and steps to take moving forward. All are welcome to attend.

This is a rapidly developing situation and we are praying for a speedy resolution. We know the Father is in control and we yield our timing to His perfect timing and wisdom.

If there is anything we can do to serve you, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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