Court Appointed Guardian To Manage Your Affairs
Life is fragile. In a very real sense, each moment we continue to live and to be able to communicate is a gift.
A diagnosis makes us even more aware of the fragility.
With a bit of preparation and a few simple legal documents, you can be in control of matters such as:
- What happens if you need medical care but cannot speak for yourself
- What happens to your assets if you become physically or mentally unable to take care of them
- What happens to your children if you can't take care of them temporarily or permanently
- What happens to your pets.
- What happens to your assets if you die.
- Funeral arrangements.
These subjects should be a top priority for everyone and particularly for a person who has a wake-up call from a diagnosis of a serious health condition. Thinking about them, and taking the necessary actions, will not make them happen.
In addition to control, planning ahead saves money - possibly a lot of money.
You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to be prepared.
If you do not decide what happens to your assets or to you, and make the proper arrangements, the law will step in and make decisions for you.
- With respect to your property, if you don't have a valid will or make other legal arrangements, the law decides what happens to your assets. This is basically a cookie cutter approach that one size fits all. State laws do not take into account what you or any other individual would actually want.
- When it comes to health care, the system is geared to keeping people alive on expensive machines for a very long time unless there is proof of a different desire. It is worth remembering Terri Schiavo, the young Florida woman who lapsed into a coma and was kept alive on machines for years while her husband battled the courts (and even Congress) to follow wishes she had expressed orally but not put into writing.
- When it comes to funeral arrangements, heirs who do not have direction from the decedent are subject to undue pressure at an extremely vulnerable time. Aside from the unnecessary pressure, there is likely to be a major waste of money.
Do not let the emotions that are bound to surface around this subject keep you from taking action.
Things will more likely go according to your plans if in addition to putting your wishes in writing, you communicate them to your heirs. It also helps if they are advised ahead of time how to enforce your documents, such as How To Enforce A Living Will And Other Advance Directives.
While considering these subjects, also think about creating an ethical will for your heirs, and a business ethical will if you run a business.
Each of these subjects are expanded upon in other sections of this document.
NOTE: Issues relating to end of life are not discussed in this category. If they are of interest, see: Managing Your Care.