Sunday, January 17, 2021
Home After You Things to do if you pass away or become incapacitated

Things to do if you pass away or become incapacitated

Things to do if you pass away or become incapacitated

A big part of financial freedom is having your heart and mind free from worry about the what-ifs of life

-Suze Orman

I wish each one of you a long and healthy life!

Today, man has reached such pinnacles that were something unthinkable and impossible. Man can predict the pathways of planets and meteoroid even for the next hundreds of years. Man can forecast the weather even for the coming years. However, there is one thing that is still a mystery to man, that is, the time of death. We all know that each one of us is not born with an unlimited package; we all have a limited validity. Moreover, no one knows the number of breaths remaining in the unused package.

At the same time, I would say that the inevitable death is not something to be fearful of. We must enjoy every single moment of our life and accept it gracefully what life has to offer us. This reminds me of Shakespeare’s poem that I read during my childhood:

“All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages. At first the infant, Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms;

And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel And shining morning face, creeping like snail

Unwillingly to school. And then the lover, Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,

Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard, Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel, Seeking the bubble reputation

Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice, In fair round belly with good capon lin’d,

With eyes severe and beard of formal cut, Full of wise saws and modern instances;

And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,

With spectacles on nose and pouch on side; His youthful hose, well sav’d, a world too wide For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,

Turning again toward childish treble, pipes And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all, That ends this strange eventful history,

Is second childishness and mere oblivion;

Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.”

Therefore, we ought to play our part to the best of our capabilities. It opens the doors to three responsibilities that we must undertake while we are still alive. In my opinion, these three safeguards your interests as you may live long but may be incapacitated. Hence, understanding their use, limited or unlimited powers, becomes essential.

So, what are those three vital responsibilities?

  1. POA (Power of Attorney)
  2. Letter of Guardianship
  3. Living Will
  1. Poa (Power of attorney)

What is a power of attorney?

POA is a document that allows any individual who appoints any person or organisation or any legal entity to manage his or her affairs. This is applicable in situations when the person is not able to do so.

This is a crucial document and is part of estate planning and is necessary also.

It has to be correctly executed. Otherwise it has no value. It has to be authenticated by a notary public. The notary public certifies the sound mental health of the person at the time of signing. It also has to be registered for its legal value.

There are different kinds of power of attorney.

I would recommend using the special power of attorney. Designating a special power of attorney refers to legally approving another person, called an agent or an attorney to act on behalf of the will holder under particular and clearly mentioned circumstances. This is suggested in situations that are of a particular task. There is another kind of power of attorney called a durable power of attorney.

This comes into effect when the principal becomes mentally or physically challenged due to some reason. The person wants to ensure its validity limit for the specific task mentioned in it.

A power of attorney cannot outlive the principle’s life, and it comes to an end as soon as the principal dies.

2. Letter of Guardianship

This is an essential letter as it allows the father or the mother to make sure that their child/children is/are taken good care of in their absence.

In case, the parents are away, and the child needs any medical attention, and the hospital or the doctor comes to know about the absence of the parents, the doctor may not take up treatment without the parent’s consent. In this situation, the letter of guardianship helps to protect the right of the child. Moreover the parent’s attention is also taken care of.

Under the letter of guardianship, best of interest action should be taken in detail if the parents are not present.

The letter of guardianship also helps to transfer the custody of a child temporarily to another person in the following situations:

  • The parent or the guardians are physically absent for a specified period, like going on a vacation or a business trip
  • The parent or the guardian may have become temporarily They may be unable to take care of the child at that moment.
  • The parent or the guardian is imprisoned or in a similar situation or legally held up somewhere.

The following points should be included, in the guardianship letter:

  • Names and contact numbers of all the parties Like the name of the child, and of the parent/guardian.
  • Important date and its validity from and to the period for which the letter of guardianship is valid.
  • Any other conditions or important observations which need attention has to be mentioned.
  • In addition the situations and circumstances which may lead to the termination of this agreement.
  • The range and the scope of the authority and the rights and exclusions of the guardian.
  • Special care, eating habits, do’s and don’ts, precautions, allergies.

This letter of guardianship should be notarized to make it legally enforceable. It is suggested to take the help of an advocate to ensure that all the conditions are met, in this letter.

3. Living Will

The living will is a fascinating subject which goes back to 1969 when in the USA, an American lawyer Louis Kutner first proposed it. In his opinion, it was a simple process to allow any patient to say no to a life-sustaining treatment which the patient did not agree to, even when the patient could not communicate it properly.

In March 2018, the Supreme Court of India gave a landmark judgement. This heralded the concept of a living will in India for the first time. It allowed a terminally ill patient in a vegetative state to have a right to die with dignity. To enable this, the person has to execute a living will.

A living will is necessarily a legal document that allows a patient’s wish as to how they want to be treated if they are seriously ill. The right to die was recognised as a fundamental right.

(Source: India allows ‘living wills’ for terminally ill – BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-43341155)

To make a living will the elements are as follows

  1. The person making a living will must be an adult.
  2. He or she should be a sound mental health.
  3. Should be able to communicate his or her decision very clearly.
  4. It should be a voluntary process.
  5. The will cannot be obtained under any duress or pressure or coercion.
  6. The declaration stating that the person making such a will have understood the consequences.
  7. The option to revoke should also be explicitly mentioned in the same well.
  8. The name of the guardian of the closest relative, therefore, authorised to decide on behalf of the person in such adverse situations must also be explicitly specified.
  9. The living will has to be signed by the person making it in the presence of two independent A jurisdictional Judicial Magistrate First Class should also countersign it.
  10. The witness and the form in the same document have been made and executed without any coercion.
  11. One copy of this living will have to be kept in the Judicial magistrate, and the other copy should be forwarded to the registry of the district court.
  12. The owners of informing immediate family members of this living will lie with the judicial magistrate.
  13. One copy should also be handed over to the municipal corporation for the records  only.
  14. One copy of the living will should also be given to the family physician.
  15. There are specific criteria which must be met before the living well can be executed.
  16. This criterion pertains to the situation where a person becomes terminally Despite all treatments, there is no hope of any recovery. The attending physician, who is now made aware of the living will checks the genuineness and the authenticity of the document . This is done by counter-checking with the jurisdictional judicial magistrate, before acting upon it.
  17. It’s a lengthy procedure also getting approval from the medical board to confirm and cross-check with the instructions in the living will.
  18. The hospital has to then inform the jurisdictional collector also about the decision taken.
  19. The advantages of a living will are numerous.
  20. The patient’s human rights are respected, and his medical condition is kept in mind.
  21. In such situations the patient and the doctor do not have to take such difficult decisions on their own.
  22. Passive Euthanasia or the “Living will” can now, therefore, be executed in India.

Such a document would offer a set of medical scenarios (we’ve used an example prepared by the American Medical Association):

  • Vegetative state
  • Coma
  • Brain damage and terminal
  • Brain damage not terminal
  • Chronic and incurable
  • Serious but treatable

Source: BBC – Ethics – Euthanasia: Living wills. http://www. bbc.co.uk/ethics/euthanasia/overview/livingwills.shtml

Having explained all the three important and critical things to do before you Pass Away or become Incapacitated, have plans for living long.

You and your spouse and your family now have an idea of how you want to live life in such situations.

It would help them now a lot, should such situations arise.

These exercises are bound to bring you that everlasting peace that no one would have told you.

Enjoy your riches!

Let abundance of joy, happiness and a healthy life bring you more fulfilments!

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