Another St. Patrick’s Day is upon us. St. Patrick’s Day celebrates the feast of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. This is a religious and cultural celebration which celebrates all Irish heritage and all things Irish. Traditionally, people go to parades or crowd into bars and pubs to celebrate Irish heritage, even if they only have a wee bit (or none). However, this year St. Patrick’s Day celebrations around the globe are being postponed or cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak. Here’s a link to an article in Forbes about the cancellations.
This is just a sign of the sensible precautions we all need to take. We need to take these precautions to keep ourselves and our loved ones healthy from the new coronavirus, “COVID-19.” Because, while the World Health Organization (“WHO”) declared COVID-19 a pandemic, they indicated it can be controlled.
Here’s the latest from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). However, there is no reason to panic. The precautions to take to avoid coronavirus are the same precautions you should be taking already to prevent the transmission of seasonal flu, the cold, etc. Here’s a link to the CDC’s recommendations regarding prevention.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
What else can you do?
You can wash your hands and keep your environment clean, including your phone with standard household cleaners. Here’s an article that details how you can do that.
Be prepared to “self-quarantine” if you are exposed to coronavirus. This means being prepared like you would for a storm. Here’s an article which discusses how you can do that. Consider stocking your pantry with staples like rice, beans, canned goods, soup, etc. Here’s an article discussing healthy options regarding what to stock.
You should stay calm and take those common sense precautions.
Another thing that will allow you to rest easier is to make sure you and your loved ones have their basic estate planning is in order. That way, if needed someone can step and in and make decisions to keep the family healthy and functioning.
Everyone should have these three basic documents, regardless of their wealth or health:
- You should have a power of attorney for property. This would allow someone, your “agent” to pay your bills and make other time-sensitive decisions during a period of your incapacity.
- You should have a healthcare power of attorney. This would allow your “agent” to make medical decisions for you (in consultation with your physicians) if you were unable to make those decisions for yourself.
- You should have a HIPAA power which authorizes those you designate to access your protected health information.
Of course, after you take these simple steps, then you can consider a more thorough consideration of your estate plan, like a trust or will, beneficiary designations, etc.
While this COVID-19 is new, coronaviruses and other respiratory viruses are not new. Taking simple precautions will allow you to sleep easier and help you avoid this current outbreak. Do it
for yourself and for the most vulnerable members of your community who are at greater risk.
Stephen C. Hartnett, J.D., LL.M.
Director of Education
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (858) 453-2128