Documents to Have in Place Before Death
Long before you are laid to rest by Waddell, AZ funeral homes, there are very important documents that you need to have in place to handle medical, legal, financial, and end-of life matters while you are alive and after you die.
Everyone, regardless of their ages, should have a living will. Living wills, first and foremost, specify what medical measures you want taken if you are dying. You can choose to either have every possible option taken to keep you alive (this will likely be very expensive and those you love will not only have to endure a prolonged dying process, but also will have to pay all the medical bills from these measures after your death) or you can choose to forego any medical treatment, besides comfort measures as death approaches, that will prolong your life if you are dying.
Living wills also appoint a medical power of attorney. This person is authorized to make medical decisions for you, based on your preferences in your living will if you are unable to make these decisions yourself. You should choose someone you trust to carry out your wishes (a spouse, a child, or a friend).
Medical powers of attorney go into effect in several instances. The most obvious is if you are unconscious or can’t speak because of an accident or a medical event, such as a stroke or heart attack. Another instance is in the case of cognitive impairment, such as dementia or the effects of a stroke, where you are neurologically unable to make medical decisions for yourself.
Living wills are valid with your signature and a date, but if you’re able you should get it notarized.
Another document that everyone should consider is a DNR (do not resuscitate). This document says that if you stop breathing, no measures should be taken to revive you. The reason you should at least consider having a DNR is because once someone stops breathing, the brain stops getting oxygen and cells and neurons start dying. If you are not breathing for a prolonged period of time, significant, and even catastrophic, brain damage will occur. If you are revived after not breathing for a long period of time (the brain can survive about six minutes it begins to die), your neurological abilities will be limited, at best, and destroyed, at worst.
A durable power of attorney is an additional document that you need to have in place before you die. This document appoints someone you trust to handle legal and financial matters for you if you are incapacitated and unable to handle them yourself. It is valid with a signature and a date, but it’s best to have it notarized. This document is valid until you die.
Finally, regardless of age, everyone should have a will. A will distributes assets (financial and material) and can help make the “stuff” aspect after death easier, indisputable, and more stress-free. Without a will to direct your family as to who gets what, serious, and sometimes permanent, rifts can develop from arguing about who gets what “stuff.” A will is valid with a signature and date, but it’s best to have it witnessed and notarized.
If you’d like to discuss documents you should have place before you die with Waddell, AZ funeral homes, you can speak with our compassionate and experienced team at Simply Cremation & Funeral Arrangements. You can visit our funeral home at 16952 W. Bell Rd., #303, Surprise, AZ, 85374, or you can call us today at (623) 975-9393.