Sharan Lee Levine
Sharan Levine

Sharan Levine answers your estate planning questions amid the COVID-19 crisis

By Sharan Levine

MICHIGAN – March 19, 2020 — In the wake of the global COVID-19 crisis, we have heard from many of our clients asking for guidance on a variety of matters, especially when it comes to estate planning.

     A couple of my elder clients have been calling with concerns about their current Durable Power of Attorneys and Durable Designations of Patient Advocate documents. In these instances, their mates have recently died. In most instances, especially when working with elders, we encourage the elder to name an alternate to act on their behalf under both documents.

     But, even with the alternate named, the elder may feel that the alternate named is insufficient or not local, and they want to make a change. To make matters more difficult, the doors are closed to nonessential visitors at elder communities. So, even though at our office where we are accustomed to making home visits with our clients, we are currently finding that prohibitive.

     Our staff at Levine & Levine is making a survey of the continuing care communities to ascertain if they are maintaining a person on staff – and on premises – with notary authority. In instances where the elder feels a sense of urgency, we have encouraged them to do the following:

  • In your Durable Power of Attorney: You are the “Principal” and the person you appoint is the “Agent.” In the Designation of Patient Advocate, you are the “Patient” and the person you appoint to act on your behalf is the “Patient Advocate.”
  • Hand write the change or added name where the agent name is set forth, and cross out the existing name.
  • Initial the change.
  • Date the change.

     For example:  Where “Sarah Smith” is the named “agent” or “patient advocate,” hand write “Jane Doe” as the new agent or advocate. Then hand write your initials, and date the change:  4/1/2020.

     This should suffice until an updated document can be prepared and sent to you – or we can visit with you and help sign, witness and notarize the document. You may also want to give a copy to the personnel at the community office. 

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136 East Michigan Ave. 14th Floor  |  KalamazooMI 49007  |  Phone269-382-0444  |  Fax269-382-0464

Randall S. Levine
Sharan Lee Levine
Anastase Markou
Sarissa Montague
Rachel Gruetzner

About Levine & Levine

Levine & Levine is renowned in the legal community throughout Michigan and beyond, for offering compassionate, professional and thoughtful representation in addition to experienced and aggressive advocacy. Since 1987, the firm has provided highly effective representation to individuals and businesses. Levine & Levine specializes in criminal defense, family law, business law, appeals, and estate planning.