Not all estate planning “packages” of documents contain a Designation of Preneed Guardian.  But, this oft overlooked document can make a big difference if someone challenges your advance directives or Power of Attorney in court. Who would challenge your documents? You might be surprised.

Suppose you name an adult child as your health care surrogate. Years go by and you are now age 90 and find yourself in the hospital with a host of medical problems plus dementia. The hospital wants to discharge you to a nursing home, but your child is advocating that you come back to your own home with her instead of being placed in the first available nursing home bed (regardless of quality). The hospital decides that they are tired of arguing with your daughter, so first they banish her from visiting you and then file a petition in court to strip her of her authority as your surrogate, and to instead appoint someone they pay for and control to become your emergency guardian, so that they then can conveniently dump you into a nursing home. And they give your daughter the legally required 24 hours to be in court to defend herself at an already scheduled hearing.

(Do not think for even a minute that I just make up these fact scenarios).

If your daughter can show that you have designated her as your Preneed Guardian, in addition to being named your Health Care Surrogate and agent under a Power of Attorney, she will create a higher hurdle of legal proof for this abusive health provider to clear before breaking up your family. It may be the difference of you remaining with your family or being under the control of strangers. Does your estate planning include a Designation of Preneed Guardian? If not, we can help, you know.

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