Saturday, April 16, 2011

National Healthcare Decision Day, April 16th

In my professional life I am an estate planning attorney, and this post is borrowed from my legal work. It is law related, but truly frugal. Today, April 16th, is National Healthcare Decision Day. The idea is to garner attention for the importance of advance directives. Did you know that you can complete these forms on your own, without an attorney? Yes, you can. Of course the forms I draft for clients are much more complete, but there are fill-in-the-blank forms offered by each state. They get the job done, and are better than nothing.

In my state, Wisconsin, we are not a next of kin state. That means if a person, aged 18 or over, losses capacity and cannot make health or financial decisions, guardianship will need to be established. That means a loved one will have to hire an attorney, go to court, the court will appoint an attorney to represent the sick party, and guardianship will be established. Two private sector attorneys going to court is neither cheap nor efficient. It can all be avoided by filling out a power of attorney for health care, a living will, and a power of attorney for finance.

Links to state forms for these documents can be found on the National Healthcare Decision Day web site. These decisions may be hard to face, but doing so is a true gift to your loved ones.

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