I was recently asked to put together a new Last Will and Testament for my father and stepmother. Not a problem, I am a lawyer and can probably swing it.
As I slogged through the creation of their documents, I realized that everybody really should take care of this kind of thing.
Even many lawyers I know don’t keep their estate documents up to snuff.
So, even though I am NOT YOUR LAWYER, I put together a little something on Wills.
This is the next chapter. All about Power of Attorney, both Durable and Medical.
Nobody wants to think being in a car wreck bad enough to put you on life support. But, you have a duty to yourself and your loved ones to provide for that contingency.
Who gets to make the medical decisions for you when you can’t?
That is where the Power of Attorney comes in. A medical POA spells out your wishes and gives authority to a named person to make those important decisions.
Take a look at this generic one HERE.
Part I; Appoint the person you want making decisions in your stead. Make sure this is a responsible person with your best interest at heart.
This form allows you to name up to 2 alternate agents. This is necessary. You never know what will happen down the road. It is also fairly common for your Spouse (primary agent) to be in the same accident as you were.
Part II; Very important distinction. Either this power bestowed upon your agent begins immediately, OR after a doctor has confirmed you are officially out of the loop.
Each of these options has different consequences and this should be milled over.
Part III; Here is your opportunity to spell out your wishes, only if the decision to made is not addressed here will the Agent part kick in.
Here is a good example of what this part could include;
NO HEROIC MEASURES – Artificial or emergency healthcare measures with or without the use of machinery, designed to revive an individual who but for those measures, would in all probability die.
Meaning go ahead and try and save me, but only up until a point.
Also look at directives for Palliative care; making you as comfortable as possible.
And DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) meaning no CPR or breathing machines.
Everybody sign, and with a witness and/or a notary it just becomes that much more enforceable.
Next up, Durable Power of Attorney
A some point down the road you may very well no longer be able to make good financial decisions. That is the purpose of the Durable Power of Attorney. When grandma racks up $ 1,000’s of dollars to 1-900 numbers(remember those), it might be time for someone to step in and take control of the purse strings.
Here is the copy of a generic Durable Power of Attorney.
The First Part ‘Notice‘ does a great job spelling out what the document does and the precautions you need to take before signing it.
The ‘Instructions‘ part is also self explanatory.
Much of this document looks like the Medical POA. The steps are;
- Declare you are thinking straight
- Assign an Agent
- Assign an alternate Agent
- Choose the effective date/or event
- Spell out the powers of the Agent
- Allow for you to make any special instructions
- Everybody Signs
Taking care of these things Now means you won’t have to worry about them Later.