Establishing legal documents can be an overwhelming headache just to think about. It’s not fun. It’s rarely understood clearly, and it can be expensive hiring attorneys to draw up the documents….
Good news though! I’ve made it simple for you here in non-legal speak to understand. On top of that, all of these documents are free and not very complicated. I have provided a link for each so you can simply download them, fill in the details, and have them signed and/or notarized if needed. Then you’re done and can sleep peacefully!
My advice: just bite the bullet and do it. You’ll feel great after doing so.
#1 – Durable Power of Attorney
There can be a lot of confusion around Power of Attorney documents. There are different kinds, different names, and sometimes even some misinformation about it. It is important to understand the technical names and purposes of each one to keep things straight.
In Texas, the ‘Durable Power of Attorney’ document gives the designated person authority over financial matters in the event the person is no longer able to act on their own behalf. Why can’t they just call it the Financial Power of Attorney!
Handling a senior’s finances towards the end of life can become a full-time job almost, especially when medical costs begin to pile up. Having this document in place is essential. The State of Texas has a free, fillable form for you to fill out if you want to avoid paying unnecessary attorney costs!
Here is a link to download the Durable Power of Attorney form from Texas Health & Human Services: Click here
#2 – Medical Power of Attorney
Yay! This one is pretty self-explanatory. This is an extremely important document to have. If your loved one or yourself becomes unable to make medical decisions for themselves, who will be the one to talk to the doctors and be the decision-maker? This is the document for that.
Do not wait until an emergency when it is finally needed to establish this document. Do it now. It is fairly quick and simple.
Here is a link to download the Medical Power of Attorney form from Texas Health & Human Services: Click here
Tip #3 – Directive to Physicians and Family / Living Will
Here’s another confusing document. For one, it goes by two names, and for two, it is not the will that sets forth who gets what after a person dies. This document is purely medical.
This document allows a person to say what medical procedures they would like or not like to endure in the event they come into question in the future. This document can be very helpful for both the person themselves and their family members in the event tough decisions have to be made in the future regarding their health.
Here’s an example. A man named Mr. Jones did well and established his son, Robert, to be his Medical Power of Attorney. Great! Now, fast forward a few years, and Mr. Jones is in the hospital in critical condition. The doctor then begins to tell Robert, his son, about his father’s condition and the choices he has. Does he want to put his father on a feeding tube and possibly prolong his life, or decline the feeding tube and potentially ending his life?
Robert becomes incredibly stressed and paralyzed about what choice to make. He begins to think about what his father would want, but he is torn and keeps second guessing himself.
In a scenario like this, a Living Will can be such a valuable document. If Mr. Jones had this, and the Living Will outlined his choice to accept or decline a feeding tube, it would make Robert’s job so much easier and bring peace to him.
In fact, most seniors have already thought about the ‘what-if’s’ in various medical scenarios and have specific desires for each situation. This is good. All that is needed is to put those desires into a Living Will so that it will be acted upon if that time ever comes.
Here is a link to download the Directive to Physicians and Family form from Texas Health & Human Services: Click here
#4 – Out-of-Hospital DNR Order
This is a document that the majority of people I meet are totally unaware of and do not have. Most people are familiar with an In-Hospital DNR document. However, these are two different documents.
If you have filled out a DNR form at a hospital form before, it will not apply to a situation at home or anywhere else. For folks using Senior Home Care, an Out-of-Hospital DNR form might be valuable to have.
So what does it do? DNR stands for Do Not Resuscitate, which means that the person does not want CPR or chest compressions performed on them if they stop breathing and lose pulse.
Some people might want this document and prefer to die naturally. Others might not want this document. You or your loved one will have to decide your choice in this matter.
By default, if 911 is called and an ambulance comes with EMR personnel, they will attempt to resuscitate your loved one. However, if your loved one does not want them to do that, then this document will be needed to avoid that. Not only that, this document must be immediately accessible to the folks upon entry. They might only give a few seconds for you to find it before they begin chest compressions. A great place to keep this document is on the refrigerator.
Here is a link to download the Out-of-Hospital DNR Order from Texas Health & Human Services: Click here
Tip #5 – Declaration for Mental Health Treatment
The name of this document can be a bit misleading as well, if you ask me. This document is not created when a person has mental health issues, but before they have them. This is another advanced directive document that a person can make to ensure their medical decisions regarding mental health are enforced in the future if needed.
The person creating this document must be mentally healthy and of sound mind when creating this.
This document might be the least important of the bunch because the chances of needing it are slimmer than the others. But, if you’re already doing the other documents, why not just complete them all and be done with it so all your bases are covered.
Here is a link to download the Declaration of Mental Health form from Texas Health & Human Services: Click here
This should be incredibly helpful for you in your wise preparation for caring for a loved one or yourself. For any other questions, don’t hesitate to give us a call at (254) 242-0772 or Contact Us.