• Lyngeolle Morris

Preparing for Coronavirus: The #1 Legal Document Every Adult Needs to Have

The coronavirus continues to disrupt daily life and has left many persons feeling uncertain of what the future holds. However, we don’t have to feel helpless during this pandemic. In fact, now is a good time to plan ahead and to be proactive in the event that a loved one falls ill.

One of the most important measures you can put in place is to appoint an agent or donee by way of a Special Power of Attorney to manage your affairs in the event that you fall ill.

With a special POA, the authority granted would be for a specific purpose and for a defined period of time.

A power of attorney may not be something that people may want to consider right now, but this may prove to be one of the most useful documents to put in place should you fall ill and not be in a position to manage your own affairs.

What is an Agent or Donee under a POA?

An agent or donee is a person you authorize in a power of attorney to make decisions on your behalf if you are not in a position to make them yourself or are otherwise unable to communicate your wishes.

Why is it important to choose an Agent or Donee now?

As of October 10th 2020, there have been 204 total cases of coronavirus in Barbados. Of those, there have been 7 deaths (about 3.4 %). While no one knows exactly how they will be affected by the virus, it’s best to plan for any worst-case scenarios. Part of that planning involves making a decisions about who will make decisions for you in the event of your illness.

Factors to Consider in Choosing Your Agent or Donee

Once appointed, the role of an agent or donee is an important one, as this person will have certain powers, duties and responsibilities regarding the management of your affairs. It is therefore critical that you carefully consider who you will select to fill this role.

Below are some factors to take into account when selecting an agent / donee:

1) Location.

Where practicable, you should select an individual who lives in close proximity to you and who can act swiftly in the event of a medical emergency or for any other urgent or critical purpose.

2) Emotional maturity.

You need someone who will be able to make ‘level-headed’ decisions on your behalf should you become ill. This should be someone who can think rationally in emotionally difficult circumstances and in your best interests.

3) Is willing and able to serve.

Once the agent/donee accepts appointment, that person must act in your best interest, in good faith and within the scope of the authority granted in the power of attorney. This is a role that will require commitment of one’s time, energy and resources. As such, you should ensure that the person you choose is both willing and able to set aside the time necessary to serve.

4) Will honour your wishes no matter what.

Your agent/donee has a duty to make decisions on your behalf that are in keeping with your wishes and instructions. Consider whether the person you appoint shares similar values and beliefs as you so that you can feel confident that your agent/donee would follow through and honour your wishes.

Planning Ahead

Putting a special power of attorney in place may be among one of the most important legal decisions to consider especially since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Putting proactive planning strategies in place can help protect you against threats, risks and conflict. At the Law Office of Lyngeolle Morris, we can help you think through your selection. We can also assist with any other estate planning needs you may have including putting in place a last will and testament.

Contact us today to discuss how we can help you and your family get prepared in these very unprecedented times.

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