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Noon webinar discusses advanced directives in COVID-19 era

National Institute on Aging

All of a sudden, COVID-19 has people of all ages rushing to complete wills, powers of attorney and health care proxies.

Usually, legal items like wills are priorities for the wealthy and older people. In this COVID-19 era, more people of more ages are looking at precautions: where their assets go, who will take care of their children, and what doctors will be told to do in extreme circumstances.

"I teach a class at the law school called Health Care Law and I talk about this with my students," said Jennifer Scharf, a partner at The Coppola Firm. "Not everybody needs a will or necessarily a complex plan for assets, but everybody needs to think about what they would want to have happen if they were in an unexpected medical situation, something like a car accident."

That is the topic in the noon hour Thursday. In an online presentation, lawyers will explain what to do about what are called Advance Directives. Among the sponsors is The Coppola Firm. Scharf, who is also chair of the Erie County Bar Association's Health Care Committee, said there has been a rush.

"Requests for advance directives, wills and healthcare proxies and powers of attorney among a wide group of people in the community, including professionals. including health care providers themselves, as well as community members in general who are looking to make sure their wishes are put in place," she said.

Scharf said lawyers can process these legal papers more rapidly than in the past and, in the virtual age, the papers can be handled remotely.

"A will, in terms of where your efforts go in providing for your children, those sorts of things, can take a little bit longer," Scharf said, "but many lawyers are in a good position now to expedite at least the more simple wills that people need in their lives in a relatively short turnaround time."

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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