As the New Year starts, it’s likely your “friend in need” has resolved to deal with the many issues, emotions and new logistics they need to manage during this period of transition. It’s easy to put off the critical task of updating (or in some cases, creating) emergency family documents. Although this goal may first seem overwhelming, it will be much easier if you complete it together…and you’ll both benefit from the outcome.
Encouraging your friend to update their documents is important because often a spouse is the named emergency contact (or the default contact in most states). A current point-person needs to be named for decisions relating to minor children, health and finances. Finishing this task will empower your friend by avoiding unnecessary conflicts during an emergency situation.
An additional document you can offer your friend is the Personal Information Organizer – great for creating a central location for important financial and legal information
Encourage your friend to update these five legal documents:
- Standby Guardian – Appoints a temporary guardian for minor children.
- Health Care Proxy – Appoints a person for healthcare related decisions.
- Living Will – Indicates end of life related healthcare wishes (in the case of a vegetative state).
- Funeral Directive – Indicates funeral related arrangements and appoints a person responsible for enacting the plan.
- Durable Power of Attorney – Appoints an agent for financial related decisions.
Suggesting that you “join forces” will make it easier to reach the goal and you will both benefit from your efforts. It will help to minimize the financial burden and emotional distress ordinarily associated with family emergencies. To ensure that they are completed accurately, it is best to consult a competent attorney who focuses on Estate Planning. Successfully finishing this resolution will bring peace of mind certain to last all year long.
This information is provided as educational material only. Most laws are complex, change frequently and vary by state. Use this information only as a guide. Always be sure to check with an attorney in your state before making any major decisions. This information is not a solicitation for business and should not be considered an offer for an attorney-client relationship.