Death is something that no one wants to think about, but is inevitable. Like the saying goes, “no one comes out of this life alive.”
Before you pass on to the next life, there are a couple of things which you need to put in order so as to avoid any confusion, future squabbles among your heirs, and even prolonged life sustaining measures, which you may not want.
Below are the three most important documents you must have before you die.
- Living Will – We never know if we’re going to end up spending our last days in a hospital. With all the pollution, cancerous radiation, artificially made food and drinks, lifestyle diseases abound like they never did before.
The possibility of getting a disease such as a stroke, or getting into an accident that leaves you in a coma is very real no matter how hard we push this thought aside. So, just in case any of these things happen to us, it’s best to have a legal document that allows you to still be the one to make decisions in the event that you become incapacitated. The living will is the document that can help you do just that.
This document allows you to tell the doctors what you want to happen with your life. Whether you want it to be artificially prolonged, or if you would rather have them pull the plug. This document also protects your family from having to spend thousands of dollars just to keep you alive, when it would be the practical decision to just let you go. This also protects your family from legal implications in the case of euthanasia.
- Durable Power of Attorney – Although a living will is very useful if you have a terminal illness that requires life-sustaining measures, not all diseases are covered such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. In this case you can then make use of the document called the durable power of attorney. Here, you allow a designated person to act as your “attorney-in-fact” or your “agent” that is authorized to make health care decisions for you.
These decisions include treatment, medical care, procedure, or service. You can also give specific instructions that require your agent to make decisions that generally go with the direction that you want. The advantage of the durable power of attorney is that your agent can weigh different pros and cons regarding your treatment.
Depending on the limit of the powers you appoint to your attorney in fact, they can go as far as deciding which physicians or health care provider they should go with and other pertinent directions that affect your medical treatment. It is very important that you only get someone you completely trust to be your attorney in fact.
- Last Will and Testament – We all know what a last will and testament is. It is the document that allows you to state your final wishes, in which you can allocate your estate and other possessions to the rightful heirs. This includes possessions which you would like to donate to charity. It also encompasses things, such as property, businesses, and investment accounts, that you designate to custodians until the time your dependents are of age.
There are four points which your last will and testament will cover. First, it will show who will act as the executor. He or she will be in charge of sorting out your affairs and making sure that the beneficiaries receive their rightful share. Second, it will outline the powers that your representative is entitled to during this process. Third, it will define who the heirs of your estate are, and fourth, it will designate when and how your estate and properties will be finally transferred in the name of your beneficiaries.
For those who have children who are still minors, a fifth point will be included which involves listing who is the designated guardian until they become adults. If you have children, it is advisable to at least have a Last Will and Testament, even if you are young and healthy.
These are the documents that you will need to arrange before you finally bid goodbye to this world. These papers ensure that you’ll be leaving all your affairs in order plus you won’t be giving your family the burden of having to decide medical treatment for you without your consent.
Have you created any of these documents for yourself? Which ones do you have and why?