Emergency Planning...Walking the Walk
Last week we posted on Facebook there was an unforeseen event that limited the time we had available assist our clients. We want to thank you for your patience and understanding.
While this is more personal than we typically post, we’d like to share what occurred and why it matters.
Jami’s husband Charles noticed some medical symptoms that he felt should be reviewed by a doctor (or at least something better than WebMD). Expecting to just get a look over and ultimately be sent on his way, he went to the local walk-in clinic- only to be sent directly to the Emergency Room. After running a couple of tests in the ER, Charles was admitted to the hospital for treatment and we spent 5 full days in the hospital. Now, we don’t share this to elicit sympathy (and spoiler alert, he’s expected to be fine), but to show you the importance of being prepared because you never know what life will throw at you.
When Charles originally left to go to the doctor’s, he didn’t grab his Estate binder or copies of his Advanced Directives (like his Designation of Health Care Surrogate or Living Will). He thought he’d be back home in an hour or two tops! But when the ER decided to admit him, one of the initial questions they asked was if he had his Advanced Directives. Thankfully, he DID have his DocuBank card in his wallet, which meant the hospital now had access to copies of those important documents, even though he didn’t take a binder or envelope full of paperwork with him. And since his DocuBank card is always in his wallet, we never have to worry there will be a circumstance where his wishes won’t be known or available at the time when they’re needed most.
This gift of security is one of the biggest reasons Worley Elder Law includes DocuBank memberships with all of our Estate Packages. And events like this are why we tell everyone who is 18 years old or older that they must have documents in place. Charles is in his early 40’s and has no history of medical issues that would result in a long-term hospital stay. He also runs his own business. Without a valid Durable Power of Attorney, Jami could not access business accounts or bank accounts in his name alone, which could result in late business payments or supply orders being overlooked. However, because we practice what we preach, you better believe he had documents in place to ensure his accounts and his wishes were known and could be followed. Thankfully, after a few days the doctors felt he was stable enough to be released and he never lost the ability to make his own decisions (well, the hospital put him on a restricted diet and he didn’t get a choice between chocolate cake or Jell-O, but you know what we mean). Of course, he did have the advantage of having his estate planning attorney by his side the entire time, so no matter what, he was in a pretty good position.
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What about you and your family? Do you have the same confidence that if an unexpected event put you or a loved one in the hospital that you’d have everything you need at your fingertips? If you already have an estate plan in place, or at least your “emergency documents,“ then we applaud you for being proactive! If you don’t have these vital documents in place, give us a call today and we will be more than happy to give you and your family peace of mind that in an emergency, your only thoughts need to be on the people you care about and not where documents are.