“BE PREPARED!” My brother was an Eagle Scout, and I heard that phrase many times. As an uber planner, I’m all over preparation. But, even procrastinators need to plan for the future (like when you about to have a medical procedure or are ill or when there’s a world pandemic).
NEWS FLASH – having a plan gives us control and when we have control, we feel better. A little preparation also helps our family and friends. The “little preparation” I suggest is to have a Statutory Durable Power of Attorney, a Medical Power of Attorney, and a Directive to Physician.
I have personal experience with the benefits these documents provide because my mother signed these documents. When she was no longer able to make decisions for herself, these documents made caring for my mother much easier and less stressful.
- Statutory Durable Power of Attorney is a written document in which you give someone the authority to conduct business on your behalf – banking, paying bills, dealing with health insurance, Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare issues, etc….
- Health Care Power of Attorney is a written document, prepared by an attorney, in which you give a trusted person the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf. The medical decisions this person makes cannot contradict your Directive to Physician.
- Directive to Physician is a written document in which you decide whether to be put on life support in the event you become terminally ill. This document is different from a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate Order). A DNR is an instruction to health care providers not to do CPR if your breathing stops or if your heart stops beating.
What happens if you become incapacitated (i.e. unable to make decisions and/or to care for yourself) and you do not have these documents? Most likely, a family member will have to hire an attorney and request that the Court appoint a guardian for you. That process is very expensive and time consuming.
So, to quote Tony Rea – “Being prepared is about anticipating what comes next and getting ready for it. If there is a barrier to the next step or some action that needs to happen, it’s you who has to make sure it does.”