Many of us will face the task of caring for a parent or family member at the end of their life. While some of the decisions we have to make seem tedious, there are some simple strategies to help.
The most common things that people will be presented with are documents such as a General or Durable Power of Attorney or Medical Power of Attorney. While these documents are helpful, they have one shortfall: once the person dies, so does the Power of Attorney. This leads to many families not having clear direction on funeral or cremation arrangements and most importantly who makes those arrangements.
Let’s face some truths here:
- Many parents are divorced
- Children live far away or scattered
- Many children are estranged from their parents
- Medical Power of Attorney or Power of Attorney ceases at the time someone dies
I highly advocate that you have these Power of Attorney forms completed but let me introduce to you the most important form you can have in your end of life file.
The APPOINTMENT OF AGENT FORM
The Appointment of Agent Form is a form that is executed with all parties (Person the form is for, the person(s) being appointed and a notary public) present. This form, once completed, is a legal document that speaks for the person after they die. This form is available at our website – you can find it by clicking here.
What does this form do for me?
- It is a clear declaration recognized by law in Texas of what your wishes are.
- In the case where you have no direct family member to make these decisions or your family is in conflict about your wishes, this ends that conflict
- No family member who may object to your wishes can interfere with your arrangements
- This form does what the Medical Power of Attorney and Durable Power of Attorney forms cannot
- It is the highest priority in the Texas Health and Safety Code 711.002, which defines who has the right to make arrangements
In my 28 years of working with families, there have been many times I wished that the person who took great care in making their Power of Attorney and end of life documents had taken the five extra minutes to complete the Appointment of Agent form. Take it from me: it will save a lot of grief in the end. I highly urge you to download and complete the Appointment of Agent form today.