What legal documents do I need in case I get into an accident?
If you get into an accident, and, god forbid, pass away or are rendered incapable of making decisions, then it is important to have a number of legal documents in place so that your wishes are carried out.
First of all, you should have a durable power of attorney over healthcare decisions aka an advance medical directive aka a living will. When there is a tragedy many people have a hard time coping and may make irrational decisions that do not comport with your wishes. This is why it is important that your wishes are written down in a legally binding document. A living will is sometimes also referred to as a “DNR” (Do not resuscitate). If you are incapacitated to the extent that you cannot make decisions for yourself, such as if you were in a coma, then living will dictates what type of life support you will receive pursuant to your wishes.
Secondly, it is important to have a will. A will is a written record of where you want your assets to go in the event of your demise. If you do not have will then your assets will pass via the intestacy laws of your state. In other words, you will not get a say in how your assets are distributed.
Additionally, if your significant other is not your legal spouse, they will generally not be allowed to visit you in the ICU without an authorization from you. This is because only immediate family are generally allowed in. Thus, you will need a “Hospital Visitation Authorization.”
Finally, in the event you are incapacitated, depending on your family situation, you may want a durable power of attorney over financial decisions. This document allows a person that you appoint to take over your finances including paying your bills such as your mortgage. Many people don’t think about the bills that still need to be paid despite an accident.
Morris Law Center can provide all of the above services to you. We love answering questions. Give us a call to set up a complimentary consultation.