Health Matters: Legal DocumentsPin

Health Matters Part 2: Legal Health Documents

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The Why of Health Legal Documents

Most of us when we think of legal health documents feel immediately overwhelmed and uncomfortable, so we ignore the subject. I’m not a legal professional, but I believe that advance planning is valuable. It gives us an opportunity to clarify what is important to ourselves and our family. If we can put aside the awkwardness of it and think about the end of our life now, when we are not overwhelmed with a health crisis, we can think more clearly about what we want and don’t want when the time comes. You don’t have to stress over making these documents perfect. You can change them or revoke them at any time. What’s important is to start. So let’s pull up our grown-up pants and explore this intimidating world of legal documents.

Types of Legal Documents

We hear words like wills, living wills, and power of attorneys. Unless you’re a legal professional, we need some definitions. This article explains the different types of Power of Attorney.

This article explains Wills and the terms used in them.

Disclaimer: Though these two articles come from Quicken Loan’s website, I am not endorsing their loan services.

How To Create Them

Every legal professional will tell you to contact a lawyer for creating these documents, so they are customized for your situation. However, lawyers are expensive. If money is an issue, you can search for low-cost services in your area. You can search your local Neighborhood Legal Services Association, Area Agency on Aging, local law schools, local community law clinics, etc. There is an online business called Legal Zoom that I have used to create my will that I would recommend if your financial situation is uncomplicated and your money is limited. Snoop around in your community and I bet you’ll find resources to help you with this task.

I recently ran across an intriguing Living Will document called Five Wishes.

Wish 1 is who you want to make health care decisions for you when you cannot.

Wish 2 is what kind of medical treatment you want.

Wish 3 is for how comfortable you want to be at the end of your life.

Wish 4 is how you wish to be treated by people.

Wish 5 is what you want your loved ones to know.

This document costs $5 for the form and takes the place of a Living Will and a Medical Power of Attorney. It is accepted in 42 states as a valid Living Will. What I really like about it, is that it includes “heart and soul” issues as well as medical. It also feels more user friendly and less overwhelming than most legal documents.

In Closing

Finally, I created a will, living will, and healthcare power of attorney documents about 10 years ago. My children are older and I need to change some things so I’ll be going through this process again. When I made my will 10 years ago, it really gave me peace of mind that my children would be cared for if anything happened to me. Give yourself that gift! 

Disclosure: I am not a legal professional. Please do not assume that this information is correct for your situation or state. Consult resources in your location to comply with local laws and to make sure these documents are done correctly.

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Till next time, Kathy

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