Areas of Practice:

Elder Law
Estate Planning
Wills and Trusts
Estate Administration
Trust Administration
Guardianships
Conservatorships
Real Estate

Emergency Wills and Medical Powers of Attorney

Pursuant to Governor Polis’ Mandatory Stay at Home Order entered on March 26, 2020, my office has been closed to the public. Before that I was complying with Orders that required me to reduce my in-person staff by 50%, so I have been working from home for weeks now.  I comply with these Orders because it is the law and it is the right thing to do.  It is important for me to protect my clients, my community, my employee, myself and our families and all the research is telling us to practice social distancing if we want to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  Financially this is a huge burden for most small businesses especially if they are continuing to pay employees, instead of laying them off. We will get through this. I suggest practicing breathing deeply, exercise (especially walks outside with your dog, if you have one), be kind to others and practice PATIENCE.

I have held many phone consultations with people who are anxious because they do not have a Will or a Medical Power or Attorney and they are frustrated that they cannot get one immediately.  Documents take time to prepare, then they must be signed before they are legally effective.  I am being retained to prepare Wills, Powers of Attorney and other documents in my phone consultations.  Once the documents are completed, my office will offer to mail the documents to the clients if they are able to sign them on their own, otherwise they must wait until we can make an appointment with them in my office.  I am encouraging clients to wait so they can review their documents with me because I find most clients have questions about their documents.

It is always preferable to have an attorney write your legal documents, but if you don’t have these documents and you want something to tide you over until you can hire me to prepare these documents for you, as a service to you to keep your stress level down, I am going to give you tips to write your own Will and Medical Power of Attorney.

Colorado allows for Holographic Wills, which are Wills you write yourself. The problem with most handwritten Wills is that they are not clear, they don’t cover all of your assets or they do not name a person to be in charge of your estate. A Holographic Will must be entirely in your own handwriting, signed by you and dated.  A Holographic Will does not require witnesses or a notary public. To ensure your Will is valid, name someone to be in charge of your estate; this person is called a personal representative in Colorado (many states call this person an executor). Write in your Will who you want to receive your assets at your death and if you list certain assets to go to certain people, also include a clause that states who is entitled to the many things you cannot list.  You can never list all your assets so you must always include an “everything else” or residuary clause.

To prepare a Medical Power of Attorney, write a statement that names someone as your agent and give them the authority to talk to your doctor and all medical personnel about your medical care as well as a release of all medical records. Indicate that you are waiving HIPPA (a medical privacy law) for your agent.  You do not need witnesses or a notary public, but you do need to be as clear as possible about your medical wishes.  You do not need to be too specific if you name a person that you trust, and you can discuss medical issues with them as issues arise.

This article was written by Tamra K Waltemath of Tamra K. Waltemath, P.C.  This information is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.  For specific questions, you should consult a qualified attorney. Tamra K. Waltemath is an elder law attorney focusing on wills, trusts, estate and trust administration, probate and non-probate transfers, guardianships and conservatorships.  She can be contacted at:  Tamra K. Waltemath, P.C., 3843 West 73rd Avenue, Westminster, CO  80030; 303-657-0360; or visit her website at: www.WaltemathLawOffice.com.

 


The Henry Law Office Building
3843 West 73rd Avenue
Westminster, Colorado 80030

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Ph: 303-657-0360
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