As a mobile notary I travel to you to perform notary public and loan signing services. I share the following stories with you to encourage to you do your estate planning (which include and are not limited to an advance health care directive, durable power of attorney, Will, etc. Please talk with an estate planning attorney for all your estate planning needs. I am not an attorney.). One of my estate planning attorney clients states it well, “estate planning is a gift to your family.” I know it can be tough for people to think about it enough to draft and execute these documents. At any age, it’s better to do it before an accident, rather than after an accident. No one plans an accident, hence the word accident.
Yesterday, I worked with husband and wife clients at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, California. He was involved in an accident that injured his neck and spinal cord, resulting in him being quadriplegic. Since he was unable to sign his signature, he signed by a mark with two witnesses to confirm he signed, understood what he signed and did so of his own free will.
This is a stressful situation with him suddenly being quadriplegic. Instantly life changed for him and his family. Their stress was compounded with the lack of estate planning documents. In a rush, his wife had to find a mobile notary, obtain the necessary estate planning documents (in this case she obtained an advance health care directive and durable power of attorney), talk with her husband about his health care wishes and managing their household. In addition, at the appointment we needed to find a couple of non-family witnesses at the hospital. Fortunately, a patient in the same room, had a couple of his family members visiting who were willing to help.
A few months ago, a client called for notary services at Kaiser Permanente in Santa Clara, California. A few days prior her aunt was admitted to the hospital and was moving in and out of unconsciousness. At one point, the doctor asked if the niece had authority to make health care decisions for her aunt, she said “yes.” She figured her aunt must have one, since she was living with her and caring for her for the past few years. He asked for an advance healthcare directive to show it and her aunt did not have one.
She had the added stress of rushing to find a mobile notary public and obtained an advance healthcare directive. She set up an appointment and hoped it would be a better day for her aunt, when she was awake and coherent enough to handle the document execution. Fortunately, it was a good day for her aunt and they have an executed advance healthcare directive, so her niece manages healthcare decisions for her aunt.)
A few years ago, I was involved in a bad bicycle accident injurying my neck and back. According to the doctors it’s a miracle I survived it and without being paralyzed or a vegetable (Thank you God!). If I was incapacitated for any length of time, no one was authorized to manage my finances or healthcare. I did not have any estate planning completed before the accident. I was in my mid-thirties, why would I need it? Fortunately, I was only in the hospital for a day and was “back on my feet”. Easily I could have encountered credit problems if I was unable to pay my mortgage and other monthly bills which would be problematic for years.
Again, I share these stories to encourage you to do your estate planning. We never plan our accidents. If you have a accident or encounter a health challenge that temporarily incapacitates you, are you ready? Does someone have authority to make your healthcare and/or manage your finances?
When you need your estate planning documents notarized, do you have a professional notary you can call?
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