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Hospitalization during COVID: Things to consider

Apr 13, 2020 Tron D. Welch, CFP, AIF MBA 

While I hope that each of you stays healthy and accident free until we are on the otherside of COVID19, just to be safe, I’m reminding everyone to review their estate plans, beneficiaries and their medical documents.   The most important reason is that many of our local hospitals are limiting, and sometimes, barring visitation.  So, if you or a family member need hospitalization, options for communicating with medical staff could be more limited than under normal circumstances.  so It’s more important than ever that your wishes and those of your loved ones are legally documented. 

While not a comprehensive list, the following are a few suggestions.  As always consult with you attorney and financial advisor to make sure you have everything that you need:

 Advanced Directive

  • An advanced directive outlines your wishes for end-of-life medical care.   If you don’t have one, talk to your attorney.  If you’re do, locate it and have it handy.    

Who can talk to medical staff on behalf of teens and young adults (18 and older)?

Once kids turn 18, HIPAA requires a release form to share medical information with family.   Talk with your attorney to see which family members may need:

  • Medical Power of Attorney
  • Advanced Directive
  • HIPAA release form (example from the American Bar Association)

 Is your Life Insurance up-to-date?

  • Be sure coverage is adequate.   Once you’re satisfied with your coverage, file documents securely and note any passwords.  

 Does anything need to be updated on your retirement accounts?

  • Review beneficiaries
  • Familiarize yourself with changes due to the SECURE Act and adjust accordingly
  • Note passwords

Create an envelope to take to the hospital including:

  • Legal medical documents
  • Physician names and phone numbers
  • Copy of medical insurance cards
  • List of allergies
  • List of medications and pharmacy
  • Signed HIPAA release form for kids over 18

Passwords

  • Organize your passwords for important accounts including social media and tell the appropriate person how to access them.

 Store documents in your Client Vault

  • All of my clients have access to an electronic vault.  If there are documents you would like to add, please contact us and we can walk you through that.

 Notorization – offered remotely from our office

  • Our office is able to notarize documents remotely via recorded virtual meetings.  We are happy to extend these services to clients.  

Beneficiary and estate planning is always a part of our frequent reviews, so most of my clients have their estate plans, including medical documents, up-to-date.   If you already have everything in order, great job!

If not, given that most of your family is likely home, now is great time to do make any necessary updates.  Hopefully you won’t need them any time soon, but if you do, your family and your medical staff will be grateful that you were prepared.  We've made an effort to cover key points, but as always, talk with your attorney, CPA and financial planner to make sure you are covered.  Stay well, and reach out if you have questions.

Researched and written by Patti ORourke