Get Your Estate Documents

Unfortunately, many of us wait until tragedy strikes to get some of our most important affairs in order.

An article in MoneyTalks News “Do It Now: 8 Essential Documents for Estate Planning” lists the documents that families should have, and the Last will and testament is the first document discussed in the article.

I’m not an attorney, so I am not providing any legal advice. In fact it is against the law for me to give legal advice or receive money for legal advice. I am writing this article to share my experience as a Texas Notary Public. The one thing I do advise is to seek the assistance of an attorney when working on your estate plan.

Over the years, I’ve been to numerous hospitals, nursing and rehab facilities to notarize estate documents, power of attorneys, wills and other documents. Many times, people realize at a time when a loved one who is hospitalized or totally incapacitated, that these estate documents are needed. Unfortunately, I cannot notarize signatures for individuals who are totally incapacitated.

The estate documents should be handled and prepared with the help of an attorney long before the family member becomes hospitalized or incapacitated. It makes it so much easier on the rest of the family. There are so many emotions, decisions, and other things families have to deal with one family member falls ill or becomes hospitalized. Having the estate documents already in place, is just one less thing to worry about.

Recently, I was called for an appointment by a family who had a relative in a local hospital. The family required a signed and notarized estate document to assist with the relative’s affairs. When I arrived at the hospital, the relative was asleep. I told the family that we would have to wake him up, and he would have to be fully awake and alert to sign the document. They assured me that it would be no problem, that he had not been sleep long. I got his ID from the family members and stated entering his information in my notary journal. As I was writing in my journal, a nurse came in to draw blood. All of a sudden machines started going off, and when I looked up again, there were at least five or six more nurses in the room, putting on rubber gloves. Just that quick, the relative had stopped breathing, and oxygen was no longer getting to the brain. I was in total shock along with the rest of the family as this scene played out in front of me.

I am sharing this experience to encourage everyone to not put off getting your estate documents done. The sooner you get these documents done the better for you, and everyone else involved.