Learning from our Crisis: An Estate Planning Attorney in the ER

Emergency Room

I’m writing today with a new sense of purpose and urgency about what we do here at The Parents Estate Planning Law Firm.

David was in the hospital over the week of Christmas. For 5 days. He lost 24 lbs in two weeks and was in and out of the emergency room, before finally being admitted the Friday before New Year’s Day. I can honestly say it was one of the scariest weeks of our lives. And we were prepared – at least estate planning-wise!

I don’t usually write about crises like these – and believe me, we hear about them quite often. But, this crisis was ours, and so I feel OK about telling you about it – especially if it can help you understand just how important planning is.

For our part, David knew exactly what to do. As soon as the ER doctor said “we are going to admit you,” David turned to me and said “go home and get the health care proxy and bring a copy back to the hospital.” Done. At that point, we began a waiting game. As he lost more and more weight, we sat in the hospital room hoping for the pathology reports to come back (very slowly over a holiday weekend, by the way). The doctors didn’t know what was wrong with him and couldn’t make an official diagnosis until they had the information in the reports, so we waited.

While we waited and waited, I heard people outside David’s room telling their doctors that they didn’t have health care proxies, or durable powers of attorney, or DNR documentation. We heard panicked phone calls and witnesses being called in a hurry to sign at the last minute.

One of David’s doctors even asked for a business card because, as he said, “doctors are dropping dead and I need to get my plan updated.”

It was crazy. But I can tell you with 100% certainty that if a crisis ever strikes, you do not want to be in the situation where you don’t have the proper documentation or have to sign documents in the ER. As scared as I was, I was able to spend the time there focused on David and my children, and not worrying about the paperwork that I know is so important, but that- honestly- was the last thing on my mind.

It is true what we say in our marketing – having the planning done really does give you peace of mind. If you haven’t planned yet – please make time to do it! Please call our office at 978-26-6900 and we’ll schedule your Family Wealth Planning Session. Whether you choose to plan with our firm or another firm, I hope you get this off of your to do list in 2018.

Wishing you a happy and HEALTHY 2018,

Paula

 

 

 

 

Paula Feakes

 

Paula Feakes is the Client Services Director of The Parents Estate Planning Law Firm, PC – a law firm for families in the Acton, Massachusetts area. Paula helps parents protect the people they love the most. To learn more, call her at 978-263-6900, or email Paula@ParentsEstatePlanning.com.