Posted by Dana Law Group on June 16, 2020
Even with the rate of new cases slowing down, the COVID-19 or “Coronavirus” pandemic is far from over. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is predicting the outbreak will continue for at least the remainder of 2020, and many are suggesting a second wave of high outbreak intensity come fall. Others are predicting the virus will stay prevalent for the next two years.
With so much uncertainty, it’s only normal to start playing out various “what if?” scenarios about your future and that of your family. If you’re a parent, you certainly aren’t alone in wondering what would happen if the virus were to infect your family. Specifically, what would happen to your children if you yourself were diagnosed with Coronavirus.
The good news is that, while the real statistics are still unclear, the survival rates of COVID-19 are much higher than the death rates. So, you shouldn’t panic. That said, you should still have a plan in place if you do contract the virus. Here’s what you need to know:
Why You Should Find a Guardian for Your Children
Thanks to an abundance of deaths among the elderly early on in the pandemic, many people mistakenly believe that the virus doesn’t pose much risk to children, teenagers and young adults. However, the truth is that this is still a very new illness, and a lot of data and time-tested research is needed before anyone can draw conclusions. Research from the University of Florida indicates that the virus is contagious for between two to four weeks, with family members having a high chance of catching it if someone in their household is sick. It is therefore important to protect family members of all ages from Coronavirus, even if this means getting someone else to care for children if you are diagnosed.
Furthermore, the severity of the virus varies greatly. While some people have little more than a cough or headache, many others are left seriously incapacitated while the virus is active in their system. Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure, with numerous reports of patients feeling like their symptoms “hit all at once.” Needless to say, it’s very likely that you will not be physically able to care for your family if you are battling the virus yourself.
Naming a Guardian
Because you don’t know how quickly or severely the virus could strike, it is crucial to have a guardian already in place for your children. A guardian is different from a babysitter — they are legally designated to care for your children in the event that you cannot, and they are capable of making important important decisions for them in the interim. If you do not have a guardian in place and are suddenly left incapacitated (such as in cases of severe illness), it will be up to the state to determine where your children will go.
The good news is that naming a guardian is something you can do now with the help of an experienced estate planning or will attorney. The process is fairly quick, and it will be well worth it should you actually get diagnosed with COVID-19.