More than just Emergency Contact Information

I will briefly interrupt my whimsical race report postings, to share something that I think is important.

There is a free, easy way to make sure that the folks you want making decisions about your medical treatment and finances are the folks who ended up doing so.

Most of my friends are really careful about having emergency contact info with them when they are out exercising (usually in the form of a Road ID) in case something bad happens and we are unable to communicate “Call my Mom/Boyfriend/Wife!”.  This is a great idea, and quite frankly, I wear my Road ID all the time because, why not?  I am sort of a klutz.

But have you ever considered what would happen if your incapacity lasted longer than a few hours?  Yeah, me neither, until a friend of mine’s father had a stroke.  He is alive, but definitely incapacitated.  She’s his next of kin, so she should be able to take charge of everything, right?  Yeah, not so much (at least in Texas).  Although she is able to make medical decisions, financially her hands are tied.   If you die, all that gets worked out in probate, but when you are alive it gets a bit dicier.

In my friends case, she has had to hire an attorney and will have to get a court to grant her a guardianship.   Although this is an expensive process, it could go pretty smoothly… unless you have someone else who wants to take charge or wants to dispute your wife/mom’s fitness to serve as a guardian.  So, instead of having a somewhat expensive but smooth process for your husband, or sister or father to manage your stuff while you are incapacitated, your loved one could end up fighting your girlfriend, other sibling, estranged spouse, or random nut job you hang out with (come on, we all hang out with a least one random nut job.  Heck I could be the random nut job you hang out with!).  What a costly headache!

The easiest, cheapest way to avoid this is through a  power of attorney (and you don’t even need an attorney to have one!).  A Non-durable Power of Attorney allows you to designate who will be in charge should you become incapacitated, and only in the event you become incapacitated and only while that incapacity lasts.

It’s simple.  Here are the forms for use in Texas:

Power of Attorney

Medical Power of Attorney

Make sure you cross out and initial the stuff you don’t want and indicate whether it applies only when you are incapacitated (to make is  NON-Durable) – it’s pretty well explained in the documents.  Then, get them signed by your witnesses/notary and stick them in your safe/filing cabinet/sock drawer (oh, and tell your family that they exist and where they can be found).

This will save your loved one a lot of time, money and heartache when they are worried about paying doctor bills but also paying your mortgage and keep your power on.

OK, onto the next report of my race disasters . . .


About jredtripp

Triathlete Extraordinaire!
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