Chronicles of COVID: COVID-19 Produces Challenges to Sign Legal Documents

Chronicles of COVID: COVID-19 Produces Challenges to Sign Legal Documents

Amazing work

Today I was able to witness and collaborate with an elder law attorney and her team as we worked to serve a client requiring new legal documents, fast. As a patient in rehab, she was drawing close to discharge (or rather insurance’s participation in the cost of care and she must move or begin to pay the full daily price).

The work, today: The elder law attorney had to (was able to) send the documents ahead and then explain and witness the signing of legal documents of a patient currently in rehab through a fence, as assisted by a social worker, in order to abide by the social distancing requirement placed upon everyone by the COVID-19 pandemic. We could not hand the documents in (risk of exposure). They could hand out but we could not hand in. Rather, the documents to be signed had to be emailed to the Exec Director, printed inside the rehab and then delivered to the patient. The social worker had to assemble the documents, transfer the patient into a wheelchair and wheel both the patient and a rolling tray outside. The patient was deemed by the attorney to have testamentary capacity (competent, cognitively OK, able to understand the documents as representing the actions to be taken).

COVID 19, Assisted Living, Raleigh, NC

Action needed: Documents: updated will, beneficiary designations, updated Financial and Healthcare Powers of Attorney agents designated, plus HIPAA Consents for Release of information (to allow us to work on her behalf) and engagement documents for NAVIGATE NC as Patient Advocates for care management.

WHY: She is to be discharged soon and cannot return to where she had been residing. There has been no one to get her laptop (that contains some financial records), look for important papers, get her mail…think about getting taxes done, and more. She must be moved, but where? She must now assemble and trust the team she is appointing:  attorney, two new agents with FPOA and HCPOA and her patient advocate.

COVID 19, Assisted Living, Raleigh, NC      COVID 19, Assisted Living, Raleigh, NC

The big challenge? Help her find her next housing in accordance with her medical needs, and find a facility that will admit her during COVID. Then arrange to move her (with medical transport required, during COVID when they are so busy), and closeout her living arrangements at her apartment. The new agents with Powers of Attorney will require education, orientation, as to their rights and responsibilities. Those new agents include 1. a newly-appointed agent with FPOA (Financial Power of Attorney) who must surely be wondering what she may be getting into),  and 2. a local young adult/realative who is naturally reticent and unprepared new responsibility of being and agent with HCPOA (Healthcare Power of Attorney).

If we don’t get the patient out by the last day insurance will pay she then will have to pay the full price per day  (likely in the neighborhood of $300.00 per day) until she does move, but what facility will accept her with the current pandemic, who will be admitting? Uphill!

COVID 19, Assisted Living, Raleigh, NC

Today’s action: We literally had three (3) law firm staff persons and myself, all arriving in four (4) different cars, plus two (2) rehab professionals, most standing on the lawn to assist. The social worker was with the patient, inside the fence and 15 feet away. The attorney, outside the fence, explained the documents as per their discussion and narrated (from a distance and through a fence) where the patient must sign or initial with the social worker assisting. Law firm staff and I witnessed the action. The documents were then handed through the fence to our signatures as witnesses and for notarizing.

NAVIGATE NC can begin to assist by locating housing, educating the agents with powers of attorney and creating a plan with them. If – when housing can be located (in accordance with the medical need that we have yet to see, Job One with proper consent) the patient will have to be moved, her apartment and belongings apportioned, her banks brought on board by way of new signature cards and hopefully automated access (during COVID banking procedures), new providers located and oriented within the new housing (continuity of care, especially medications and from multiple prescribers!) during COVID procedures, a Plan of Care (provider, housing and new HCPOA agent)…the list goes on. All will be COVID-influenced.

Today I witnessed lots of heart and willingness to go the extra mile. It was both taxing and amazing to be a part of the effort, one that is just beginning. During the day’s activity, I was not-so-surreptitiously taking pictures, wishing to chronicle it all. My intent was to get capture “hands and signing”, images of folks assisting in the effort, perhaps “from behind”, etc. I would edit any identifying features. Naturally, and quite rightly, the social worker questioned my actions (and I was glad they did, they were questioning to protect their patient, and likely the workplace).

COVID 19, Assisted Living, Raleigh, NC

Leg one of this journey accomplished.

Do you need assistance locating housing, educating agents with powers of attorney and creating a care plan? We can help.  Call us to schedule a complimentary consultation toward services, 919.628.4428 or CONNECT WITH US at

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