Many of my friends and clients know that I am an endurance runner. I am also an attorney. While you are out on the road for a long run, it gives you a lot of time to think. That is how I came up with the “Top 10 Things that Runners and Triathletes Should Know About Estate Planning”.
1. We may be healthier than most, but none of us gets out of this world alive. We all need to have Wills.
2. A Medical Power of attorney is a must! It allows you to name an agent to make healthcare decisions for you when you can’t make them yourself. If you have an accident or health problem while out running, cycling, or swimming, you need to have someone with authority to make health care decisions.
3. Your spouse does NOT automatically have authority to make your medical decisions, expect in an emergency. Once the emergency ceases, so does their authority. So, unless you have given them that authority through a Medical Power of Attorney, their only other option is to get a temporary or permanent Guardianship of your Person.
4. Keep a copy of your Medical Power of Attorney in the glove box of every vehicle you drive. If you are ever in a car accident that is the first place EMS is going to look.
5. Make sure the Agents you name in your Medical Power of Attorney keep a copy of the document in the glove box of each vehicle that they drive. That way, it will always be handy. If they get a call that something has happened to you, they can head straight to the hospital, rather than having to run back home to get a copy of the document.
6. You should bring a copy of your Medical Power of Attorney with you to every race. If you have family or friends spectating, leave a copy with them. If not, leave a copy with the emergency contact that you list when you register.
7. ALWAYS wear some form of Road ID when you are out training or racing! If you have a medical condition or allergies, you should wear it all the time and made sure the condition or allergies are clearly listed on the ID.
8. You should prepare a Statutory Durable Power of Attorney, which allows you to name an Agent to handle your financial affairs. Head traumas are not uncommon with cycling accidents and or if a runner should tangle with a vehicle. You will want to name someone to take care of all of your financial matters until you are able to handle them yourself. When you prepare a financial power of attorney, you can choose to have it be effective immediately upon signing, or only be effective if you lose capacity, which is called a “springing”.
9. Your spouse does NOT automatically have authority to handle your financial affairs for you. Unless you have given them that authority through a Statutory Durable Power of Attorney (for financial purposes), their only other option is to get a temporary or permanent Guardianship of your Estate.
10. If you have children over 18 years of age, they should also have their own Powers of Attorney. You were their natural guardian and could make all of their health care and financial decisions when they were children. However, once they turn 18 years of age, you no longer have any authority over them. You are not even entitled to find out how they are doing after an accident unless they specifically give permission for that information to be shared with you. Again, unless they have given you the authority to handle their affairs through Powers of Attorney, your only other option would be moving for a temporary or permanent Guardianship over them.
Run, Bike, Swim safely out there!
Michell S. Bradie