The 3 Legal Documents Every Family Needs

August 16, 2013

It’s the situation we never want to find ourselves in—a loved one unexpectedly suffers a medical emergency and does not have any legal documents indicating how their medical care should be handled, what should become of their estate, or even where their important documents are located. It’s a situation we all would love to avoid and easily could; yet roughly 71% of adults in the US say they don’t currently have a living will or any other legal document indicating their wishes.

Here at Mission, the last thing we want to see our patients and their families experience is any confusion regarding a patient’s wishes. This is why we recommend putting these three key documents in place to protect our wishes and ourselves.

1.  Living Will – A living will outlines not only who you wish to be responsible for making your medical decisions, but it also outlines what those decisions should be based on your preferences. This document is also sometimes known as an advance directive or health care directive. It is important to note that this document is typically honored only when the patient is identified as terminally ill.

2.  Health Care Proxy – A health care proxy can supplement a living will, as this document is not generally limited to life-sustaining care. For example, in the event that one is incapacitated and not diagnosed with a terminal condition or illness, this document would come into play.

3.  Last Will – This is the document most Americans think of when estate planning, as it is the most common. A will outlines how assets and property should be divided, as well as what the last wishes of the deceased are. It is important to outline guardianship of children and pets in this document as well.

It’s important to consult an attorney to be sure these documents are all properly filed, and be sure to alert a loved one where they can locate these in the event of an emergency. Don’t wait until it’s too late to express your wishes.

About Mission:

Mission is a clinically owned and operated organization whose services include Mission Home Health, Mission Hospice, and Mission Home Care.  By providing these three service lines, Mission Healthcare strives to have a positive impact on the lives of patients, their families, and their healthcare partners no matter what their needs may be. Mission utilizes all available resources to provide the highest level of care possible to their patients, all while in the optimal healing environment, the home. www.homewithmission.com

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