BASIC LEGAL EMERGENCY DOCUMENTS

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In the event of an emergency resulting in physical disability, mental incapacity or death, it would be comforting to know that all of your medical, financial, legal and funeral wishes would be taken care of the way you had wanted. It would be nice if you did not have to worry about strained family relationships because of disagreements during your incapacity or after your death. It is possible to feel secure that your finances will be safe for your family and that they will have the least amount of emotional strain possible in the event of an emergency.

This details the necessary emergency documents required to allow you to rest assured that your wishes will be followed and that the money you worked so hard for during your life will not be wasted on lengthy court processes when the inevitable finally happens. You may have your wishes formally known; thereby putting to rest any questions about what you would have wanted. A future emergency is inescapable - are you prepared to deal with it? 

Families and individuals are on a life expedition with potential dangers – death, disability, mental illness and serious injuries. They must carry in their imaginary backpacks the right legal documents and other equipment to take care of each catastrophe before and if it occurs.

 

Following is the list of the Preventive Law Documents every adult American needs:

 

  1. A Durable Medical Power of Attorney will appoint your legal agents to care for you in the hospital when you cannot direct the doctors yourself.  Without a Durable Medical Power of Attorney, you will have delays in your treatment and without having the Durable Medical Power of Attorney someone will have to go to the local courthouse to seek appointment as a legal guardian.

  2. A Durable Living Will designates your surrogate to assist you when you are dying, to decide when to “pull the plugs” and direct your palliative care.  Without a Durable Living Will, the medical professional may keep you alive and in pain indefinitely, enduring something worse than death and eating up your wealth in useless medical care, unless, of course, the family initiates very expensive, complicated, and questionably successful court proceedings.

  3. A Durable Mental Health Power of Attorney will allow your designated agent to confine you for mental health care, without the costs and embarrassment of a full boat mental health hearing.  Without a Durable Mental Health Power of Attorney, you will not be able to sign yourself out of a protective institution while still mentally impaired, and require your family to use force to capture you and submit you to an expensive courthouse mental health hearing with multiple lawyers, multiple doctors and emotionally charged proceedings

  4. A Durable General Power of Attorney will permit your designated agents to sign legal documents and disbursement checks for you while you are disabled, missing or away.  Without the Durable General Power of Attorney, your legal and financial matters will fall into disarray, deadlines will be missed, and important matters may not be handled without going to the courthouse to petition for the appointment of a Legal Conservator and expending large amounts of money on attorneys’ fees, doctors and surety bonds.​

  5. Durable Funeral and Burial Instructions will prevent arguments and psychological hurts during the after death process.  Without the Durable Funeral and Burial Instructions, family members who are next of kin may quarrel over details of the funeral and burial, each one “absolutely sure of what Dad wanted.”  Family members may also have psychological remorse over whether they selected the correct pallbearers, the right coffin, the best person to offer the eulogy – and worry about their sensitive errors for the rest of their lives.

  6. A Last Will and Testament will allow you to designate a personal representative who will handle your affairs at death, who will be the guardian and conservator for you and your children, and who will receive your property on death. Without the Last Will and Testament, the wrong persons may be appointed by the court to handle your affairs and property after you die, or the court may appoint inappropriate persons to care for you in a nursing home, or raise your minor children.  Also without a Last Will and Testament, the legal fees, surety bonds and other fees will be greater.

  7. HIPAA Authorization. New federal laws have been enacted to protect the privacy of health care information. These laws also have civil and criminal penalties for non-compliance. You must have the HIPAA Authorization documents in order for physicians and other medical staff to release your health information to your loved ones if you enter their facility and are unable to respond yourself to their HIPAA release documents. Imagine the complications of your loved ones not having access to your medical records in an emergency.

  8. A Personal Property Inventory List will designate individuals to receive your personal effects, household goods, and other moveable property.  We have experienced some of the most bitter arguments over who gets Mother’s wedding ring or Dad’s gold watch.  Your Last Will and Testament will authorize the making of a Personal Property Inventory List in your own handwriting, detailing who gets each one of your treasured articles and eliminating the chance of bickering over them.  It is also a good idea to have a complete inventory on video of what is in your home and second home to avoid controversy over what was there when you died.

  9. A Statement of Wishes will give your family instructions on how you want them to: (1) take care of you if you are incapacitated; (2) deal with your property; and (3) carry on your family culture.  Without a written Statement of Wishes, your family will worry about whether they have your blessing and guidance in what they do.  During your life, didn’t you acquire some experience and good ideas that you want to preserve for your family?