No matter what your age or health, you should be prepared for all of life’s emergencies—do yourself and your loved ones a favor by making decisions now.
If you do not have the forms described below—don’t worry! Best case planning can be as simple as writing down your best friend’s phone number.
The documents listed below are good for everyone over the age of 18 to have…and making them does not have to be expensive or difficult.
In the most short and simple terms, everyone needs the Big Three:
1) Power of Attorney for Health Care and Health Care Instruction (also called an
Advance Health Care Directive)
California lets you create an Advance Directive in which you nominate an Agent who will make medical decisions when you cannot. This form also allows you to state clearly what kind of treatment you do or do not want as well as leaving instructions for your physical remains after death if you do not have a Will.
2) Power of Attorney
If you are sick or incapacitated how will your expenses be paid? If you need to access money, or sell assets to provide care, how will this happen? A Power of Attorney is a very powerful form that lets you nominate another person to take control of your finances when you cannot.
3) Will or Trust
Who will make sure all of your belongings and assets go to the right people or charity after you die? A Will names a Personal Representative. A Trust names a Trustee who makes decisions about how assets in the Trust are handled. A Will can be very simple and done by you if you do not own a lot and are not worried about family conflict. If you have a lot of assets or complicated family, a Will can be as complicated as a Trust, which really is easiest and safest to have an attorney create.
Do Not Put These Documents
In A Safety Deposit Box
Without a court order, no one can get them but you; even if you put someone else’s name on the account, it takes time. Electronic copies or fireproof box are best.
Don’t stress if you don’t have all of these documents. One step at a time.
For right now, let’s get basic information. Print it out, fill in the blanks, and stick on your fridge.
You can take a picture and email it to your friend who lives out of state or mail a copy to your family members!
It’s Quick and Painless – Just Do It!