Monday, August 24, 2009

ABC GMA tells us 5 legal documents every family must have

ABC “Good Morning America” on Monday, Aug. 24, 2009, ran a report “5 Legal Documents Everyone Should Have: From living wills to power of attorney, how best to protect your family,” by Lee Ferran, web URL link here.

The documents include living wills, advanced medical directives, and powers of attorney (including updated documents reflecting HIPAA requirements, which avoid certain Catch-22 situations involving the knowledge needed to authorize treatment or even nursing home placement). The show also recommends a living trust, although AARP produced an essay disagreeing with this. Powers of attorney must be used with care and good faith.

The list also includes a Kids’ Protection Plan, including who should have custody, to prevent Child Protective Services from intervening too much. In some cases, parents expect older siblings to step in and raise younger ones (they see this as a “lineage right”) or sometimes people invite siblings (even unmarried or childless ones) to take custody, as has happened in a couple of films (like “Raising Helen”).

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