THREE LEGAL DOCUMENTS that every adult should sign
No-one can prepare for every possible eventuality but,
by making these three legal arrangements you will have done your best to avoid misunderstanding and distress in the future for yourself and your family.
1. A POWER OF ATTORNEY
If you were too injured or ill to make your own decisions, who would make those decisions for you? A stranger or someone picked by the state? Or would you want someone you love and trust to have the power to make those decisions? Don’t wait…make your choices known now by arranging a Power of Attorney.
What is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney is a legal document which gives someone you trust legal powers to act on your behalf if you are unable to make decisions for yourself, for example if you were taken ill in hospital. That person could, for instance, draw your state benefits or pension for you, pay your bills for you or make decisions about your healthcare.
Why do I need one?
As many as one in three of us will suffer the effects of incapacity (that is, being unable to make decisions for ourselves) at some point in our life due to illness. If you don’t have a Power of Attorney in these situations the state will eventually find someone to make decisions on your behalf, usually after a long and expensive court hearing. But that person might not be the person you would want. It could be a state official or a stranger. This can be avoided by preparing a Power of Attorney.
2. A WILL
If you were to die without a Will, your next of kin would have to apply to the Court for permission to administer your property. Would you want that person to have to go through that experience at what is bound to be a very distressing time for them? Would you want the state to make decisions about who is in charge of your property and who gets what? Don’t wait…make your choices known now by arranging a Will.
What is a Will?
A Will is a legal document which names the person you would like to gather in your property when you die and distribute it according to your wishes. Other wishes can be made clear in your Will such as who you want to look after your children if you were to die when they are young.
Why do I need one?
As many as one in two of us don’t have a Will. When someone dies without a Will lots of problems can arise and those left behind are lumped with the burden of sorting everything out. For example, someone will have to go to court to ask permission to deal with your belongings. This process can be very lengthy and expensive. Painful family argument can occur. Preparing a Will ensures that your family will not have to suffer these troubles at what will be a very upsetting time for them.
3. AN ADVANCE DIRECTIVE
What is an Advance Directive?
An Advance Directive is a clear statement in advance to your doctors and relatives as to your wishes regarding healthcare and treatment should certain extreme conditions arise. For example, if you were in the very last stages of a terminal illness and got the flu it would probably end your life. Your doctor might suggest a course of antibiotics to extend your life by a few days or weeks. Many people, however, would not want this and choose to make their wishes known in advance. This can be done by preparing an Advance Directive.
Why do I need one?
If you were terminally ill, unconscious and unaware of what was happening around you with no hope of recovery, would you want the decision about whether to withdraw futile medical treatment to be put in the hands of a loved one? If you are unable to make decisions about your medical treatment, it is usually left up to your next of kin to make the decisions. A relative placed in this situation may feel troubled and even guilty over any decision they make. People might fight over what they think you would have wanted. Would you want them to have to make a decision like that, a decision which might haunt them for the rest of their life? However, if you prepare clear instructions in advance of that situation these problems can be avoided and it can be a great comfort to relatives because it allows doctors and relatives to go along with what you want.
If you are over 60 years of age or if you are claiming a state benefit there is a possibility that you will qualify for full legal aid, which means that Hastings Legal can prepare these documents for you at no cost to yourself. However, we offer a competitive, discounted package price, in the event that you do not qualify for Legal Aid
“At some point, you realize your parents are human. They make the best decisions they can with the options available to them.”Cory MonteithContact Us
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