Okay, not that “talk”, but the other one; the one about what happens when you die or become incapacitated?
It is not a very fun discussion to have with your loved ones, but it is essential. It is particularly important if you want to make sure things are done the way that you want them. A checklist for your “talk” should include:
- Last Will and Testament: (that you have one, and where to find it) – If you don’t have one, make one. It is required in order to pass what is in your estate to the people that you want, with as little expense as possible.
- Medical Power of Attorney: (make sure that your Agents have a copy) – If you don’t have one, make one. It is required in order to allow someone to make medical decisions for you when you can’t make them yourself, and usually avoids the need for an expensive Guardianship of your Person.
- Statutory Durable Power of Attorney for financial matters: (make sure that your Agents have a copy) – If you don’t have one, make one. It is required in order to allow someone to handle your financial matters for you, and usually avoids the need for an expensive Guardianship of your Estate.
- Directive to Physicians, also known as a Living Will: (if you have one, make sure they know where to find it) – This allows you to decide whether you do, or do not, want life support in the event that you have a terminal or irreversible condition. Often times, spouses are comfortable making that decision for one another, but do you want your adult child or children to have to make that decision for you? If not, you should prepare one, and discuss with loved ones what you would like in that situation.
- Disposition of Remains: (if you have one, make sure they know where to find it) – This allows you to choose if you want to be buried or cremated so that you do not need permission from a surviving spouse or children.
- Organ Donation: Just signing the back of your driver’s license is not enough. If you are in that rare 1% situation where you are brain dead and your organs are intact, the hospital is legally obligated to ask your family about donating your organs. Your license may not be available for family to look at. Also, your family can override your wishes to donate when you sign the back of your license, so please have that discussion with them while you are healthy, so that they fully understand how you feel, one way or the other.
- Pre-Arranged Funeral Plans: (if you have one, make sure they know where to find it) – This is the contract with the funeral home, and usually requires that you provide the original, especially if it is an older funeral plan. They usually will not provide a refund, so if you do not use the plan that has been paid for, it will be wasted. This is also a very good way to make sure that your wishes are followed, and that your family will not feel pressured into doing more than you wanted.
If you need assistance with preparing your documents, please give us a call. We can help.