If you do only one legal thing in 2013, make it this

If you do only one legal thing in 2013, make it this

Do you remember Terry Schiavo?  She was the unfortunate Florida woman who became brain dead.  She lived for many months as a vegetable as her husband and parents argued over whether or not she would have wanted to be kept alive in that condition.  Her parents said she’d want to live, her husband said that she made very clear to him that she would have wanted to have any life sustaining measures ended.

It became a big legal mess and TV spectacle that even had politicians in DC weighing in.  And it went on for seven years.

Now I don’t care if you think she should have lived with the hopes that she’d recover or died.  What I do know is that despite seeing the Schiavo mess, most people I meet haven’t done the one thing necessary to prevent themselves from being in the exact same situation as her.  They haven’t created a power of attorney for health care.

This simple and free form tells the world who you want to have make medical decisions for you if you can’t do so yourself.  It also states that if you require to be on life support to live whether or not you want that support to continue.  In other words, when you are healthy you can make a decision of what will happen to you if you are sick.

Most people assume that this will never be an issue for them.  But Terry Schiavo was only 26 when she had a heart attack that lead to brain damage.  So who’s to say that you won’t be walking down the street tomorrow, slip on some ice and hit your head.  Next thing you know, you are in the hospital.  Except if you are brain dead you won’t know it.  Once you have an injury, your loved ones could have to go to court to petition over who gets to make decisions for you.  It’s expensive and creates bad feelings.

Did I mention it’s free?   You don’t even need to have it notarized.  Just give it to your doctor if you have one.  Give it to the person you want to have power of attorney.  Maybe give it to your backup.  And then move on with your life.

But you can move on while knowing that if something does happen to you, you are covered.

And if you have any questions about filling out the form, you can contact me and I won’t charge you a penny.  Just get it done.

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