Category Archives: Pandemic and Elder Law in Maryland

Postal Service Delays Affect Court Filings and Medical Assistance Applications

In 2020, many of you undoubtedly noticed significant delays with the United States Postal Service. Our elder law office in Maryland also noticed that our mail was either slow to be received or, in some cases, appear not to have reached their final destination.

While that may be a minor inconvenience for mailing bills, it can be devastating for court filings and medical assistance (i.e., Medicaid) applications. Many court filings are very time sensitive, so it can be a major problem if they are delivered late or not at all.

Electronic Filing in Maryland Jurisdictions

Some jurisdictions in Maryland mandate electronic filing, so the issue of late mailing does not impact these filings. However, not all circuit court jurisdictions have electronic filing available. In particular, Baltimore City and Prince George’s County do not have electronic filing systems in place yet. Also, no Orphans’ Court or medical assistance process has electronic filing.

Use Courier Instead of USPS

If your court filing is not received, or even if it is late, then that can be a complete barrier for your case proceeding. It may even result in your case being dismissed, for reasons beyond your control. That is why, for the foreseeable future, critical non-electronic filing should occur via courier.

Even if you send your filing via a courier service, such as FedEx, there are still some risks. For example, you are asking the FedEx worker to place your filing in a unique location at the courthouse, which may not be familiar to them. That can also lead to lost filings.

We all hope that this issue with the United States Postal Service is temporary. But for now, we are keeping a close look at this issue. And for non-electronic filings, we are using a courier to file our cases.

COVID-19 Pandemic and Essential Estate Planning Documents

Be Your Loved One’s Advocate During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Having to be isolated and separated from a loved one, especially a parent or spouse that needs your assistance, can be both a frustrating and terrifying experience. Places of healing and safety such as nursing homes are now coming under significant strain. The most vulnerable amongst us face a threat that is both elusive and seemingly pervasive. It is during these unusual times when serving as your loved one’s advocate, when they are not in a position to do so themselves, is most critical.

Essential Legal Documents: Financial Power of Attorney and Advance Directive

Legal documents, such as financial powers of attorney and advance directives, at one time were just afterthoughts to many of us, like unused jumper cables that you never quite used. However, now they are being thrust into the limelight. The question is, do you have one? And can you use it?

The Maryland Circuit Courts are now entering modified openings.   There is a uniform leaning towards remote hearings but not all hearings are remote.  If the request is made for an in-person hearing it may be scheduled a number of months in the future (with the possibility of being rescheduled depending on Covid-19 issues).

The path that must be utilized is through the financial powers of attorney and advance directives. Both documents enable you to act on behalf of your loved one, especially at a time when they are not in a position to act in their own best interests.

Elder Law Attorney Ensures Valid Legal Documents

Not all financial powers of attorneys and advance directives are equal. Nothing is worse than having an Internet-driven document, and then, in a moment of crisis, when you attempt to use it, discovering that it utterly fails.

It is critical that you have a good elder law attorney draft the proper financial power of attorney and advance directive. With social distancing and stay at home orders, the issue of how to execute these documents also presents unique problems. Let us assist you in executing these documents to meet the current requirements.

Even with the proper financial power of attorney and advance directive, you must be familiar with how to use it, and to know what you can do and what limitations exist. This information is critical if you are to be the best advocate for your loved one. Let us help you with practical advice and solutions.