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'Just in Case' book a good idea *

My cousin, much to my admiration, has devised a homemade creation entitled "Our Just In Case Book." Her adult children know where it is located. It's a simple binder of information that others need if she or her husband is incapacitated.

Once again, I came face to face with a family member with very specific demands for his father who developed an emergency health issue. However, the son did not know where to find legal documents that grant him the right to take action on his father's behalf.

What a difference from my cousin, whose homemade notebook has everything her adult children need in a crisis. An unexpected trauma is enough to deal with. Facing legal, financial or end-of-life decisions without any input from people you love is devastating.

In my cousin's notebook are the basics --- a copy of both spouses' birth certificates, Social Security cards, Medicare cards, insurance cards, veteran's cards and discharge papers, and important phone numbers.

An important inclusion is their durable power of attorney for health care. This legal document lists who is designated to make medical decisions when they are no longer able. They also included a copy of their living wills in case of an irreversible terminal illness.

Because Cousin Bec already faced the death of her parents, a son and her father-in-law, she also included details regarding health and death decisions that are personally important. She wrote, "When I die, no money on flowers. I want any memorial donations for my favorite charity."

She and her husband included information about their burial locations and pre-planned funeral arrangements, as well as Bible readings and hymns for their funerals.

Also, a copy of their power of attorney and last will and testament are included. The power of attorney allows a designee to make financial decisions for them if they are not able. It cannot be put into effect unless they are legally judged to be incompetent.

To make life easier for those left behind, also included are information on life insurance policies, bank accounts, stocks, bonds and CDs, along with their locations. My mother has signed a simple bank document that allows me access to her bank accounts on her behalf. One detail my mom can't stand is being late with a bill. And believe me, if she paid interest on a late bill, I would be paying the piper.

Consult an attorney? If you want to have it right and to think of everything, I believe it is wise. Also, there is a wealth of information at www.Americanbar.org to get the ball rolling.

I also ordered the pamphlet "Getting Your Affairs in Order" and "Advance Care Planning" free from The National Institute on Health at www.Niapublications.org. You may also call (800) 222-2225. It takes two to three weeks to arrive.

I hope when my time comes, our adult children will also check my coat pockets. I love when winter arrives and I find money there.

Article Source: http://freelegalinformation.info

By Kathy Martin, WCFCourier.com

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