SENIOR SIGNALS: Moving forward in spite of COVID-19

Published on Sunday, 22 March 2020 21:33
Written by Daniel O. Tully

Several years ago, when former Bristol state Sen. Steve Casey commented about the difficulty associated with his heart transplant, I was struck by his candor and courage when he said, “When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.” That type of Casey courage is what we need in today’s coronavirus crisis.

While I understand the reason for many people’s concerns with the pandemic, it is extremely important to move forward with your life. In the very near future, you may be, and possibly should be, homebound for a short period of time.

With today’s modern technology, you can still move forward with any of your legal, health and financial planning. The advent of computers, the internet, FedEx, Skype, FaceTime and video conferencing allows us to move forward even when you are following “social distancing” guidelines.

Like many law, accounting and financial planning firms, our office has been planning for this outbreak. I am mindful of the fear and anxiety that many have seeing our daily habits and life changing and having to modify.

We are all worried about the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the danger it poses to our community, locally and globally. By way of example, here is what our office is doing to ensure the health and safety of our clients and team members.

If allowed, we will still have face-to-face meetings in our office. Our office is taking all the prescribed precautions, including following the 6-foot rule, frequent hand washing, wiping down and disinfecting all surfaces, and using hand sanitizer.

If our clients are unable to travel to our office during this time, or simply feel safer staying home, we understand. We are still able to serve them and move their planning forward. Alternatives include scheduling a phone conference and video conferencing.

In certain cases, we still make house calls. When circumstances require that documents be signed and there’s no other way for clients to see us, an attorney will visit their home.

We strongly recommend having your important documents in place, such as power of attorney, living will and health care representative. A power of attorney allows you to appoint another person – your “attorney-in-fact” – to step in and manage your financial affairs if and when you ever become incapacitated. If you become incapacitated, who will make your medical decisions?

A health care representative allows you to act as your agent for medical decisions. It will ensure that your medical treatment instructions are carried out and it is especially important to have a health care representative in these trying times.

If you are homebound because of the pandemic, it is extremely important that someone is able to make legal, financial and health care decisions for you. If you do not have these documents, they can still be completed now without you ever leaving the safety of your home.

We want everyone to stay healthy!

Attorney Daniel O. Tully is a partner in the law firm of Kilbourne & Tully, P.C., members of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys Inc., with offices at 120 Laurel St., Bristol .

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol on Sunday, 22 March 2020 21:33. Updated: Sunday, 22 March 2020 21:36.