The answer to the question is NOW and PLAN for all eventualities, including emergencies. Being prepared for emergencies includes not only food and water, but also “documents.” In addition to a trust, will, durable financial power of attorney (POA), there must be a medical power of attorney or directive (the four principal document essentials).
The Advanced Health Care Directive should be on file with the primary care physician, the hospital, and in personal files. I also have a copy attached to my refrigerator with a magnet just in case and ambulance team might need ready access to my wishes.
All my personal medical files are in an A-Z system in the Estate Documents Organizer records book under Healthcare so my daughter and sole heir has immediate and legal authorization to honor my wishes in a critical moment or at the end of life. (She will also have the location of all other financial and legal documents, passwords, pet information and all bank, credit cards and property records – at her fingertips!)
The following inspired me to take precautionary steps to prevent stress, chaos, time issues for my daughter and other family members.
Years ago, a personal friend attempted suicide and was in a death coma for several days. Her mother and sister “discovered” an executed Directive or “Do Not Resuscitate (DNR)” form in her desk and they were able to carry out her wishes and avoid years of medical treatment with no hope of recovery. Her mother told me with great relief that she was able to let her daughter go with peace and dignity. She so appreciated what her daughter had done to spare her family more trauma… in the devastating circumstances of taking her own life. My friend was 35 years old at the time!
My hospital told me about the DNR form or I would not have known about it. Do you have a properly executed Advance Health Care Directive? Is it on file, known to your family members and physician? If not, I urge you to do so as soon as possible. Go online to find the form or see your physician or hospital to obtain a copy. Give yourself and your family “the gift of order and peace of mind.”
For more information about all the important documents you need to find, update, file and keep in one safe place and create your own personal “information insurance” system, click on Estate Documents Organizer.
Julianne (Julie) Jones created the Estate Documents Organizer A-Z records book in the process of caring for her mother for 20 years. She is a UC Berkeley graduate and holds a secondary teaching credential. While involved in senior care, she was also a working mother in the San Francisco financial district that culminated in 20 years at ABC television. Now retired, she is sharing her experience to help others.