The importance of having documents in place ahead of time.

Over the years, I’ve received a number of calls from spouses or children where their loved one is dying. And typically, they are in a bit of a panic; not necessarily because of the impending death, frequently they’re dealing with that emotionally, but because some decisions need to be made and no one is authorized to make those decisions.

I’ve preached about this before; the responsible thing to do is have your lifetime planning and estate planning in place before you need it. Nonetheless, a lot of people do not do any sort of planning until the last minute. And it can be too late at the last minute.

Sometimes it is possible to do some last minute planning; if the person is able to communicate they can probably execute documents naming someone to handle business affairs and to make medical decisions, as well as doing some estate planning; but sometimes the person is unconscious, in a coma, or while they may be conscious, they are simply too far gone to be able to communicate in any meaningful sense. And, sometimes, things can turn for the worse very quickly; people may be able to communicate in the morning, but by the afternoon, they’re unable to.

Having a power of attorney and a health care surrogacy in place ahead of time is simply the right thing to do; it is good stewardship as my pastor puts it. While it is not impossible to deal with emergencies in the absence of these documents, it does make things much rougher and could make things much more expensive than need be.

Everyone should have a power of attorney and a health care surrogacy in place; even if you are not comfortable drafting a will, these other documents will allow someone to make decisions for you during your lifetime. Bear in mind, both of these documents are revocable; if you run into a problem you can undo them.

If you are in need of lifetime planning, a power of attorney, or a medical power of attorney in The Villages, Florida, feel free to contact my office.

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