Every Year April 16th is NATIONAL HEALTHCARE DECISIONS DAY
To honor the commitment that “your decision matters” on that day, Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice offers free living will packets for either NJ or PA when you stop into their office at 99 Sparta Ave, Newton NJ. If you call that day, one can also be mailed to you.
You may also print out an Advance Directive for your state by visiting either of these sites:
Eventually, a life-limiting illness will take away a patient’s ability to make health care decisions. While the decisions still have to be made, someone else has to make them. If plans have not been made, this can
become a burden, cause delay, or lead to costly and lengthy court proceedings. Steps should be taken to control these decisions so the patient’s wishes will be respected.
A living will is a statement about the patient’s wishes regarding medical treatment that directs the doctors when the patient is no longer able to communicate their desires. If a patient does not want to be kept on life-prolonging devices (such as feeding tubes, IV’s, or respirators), it needs to be specifically stated in a living will. A copy of the living will should be given to the patient’s doctor, the hospice, any treatment center where the patient resides (i.e., a hospital or nursing home), and to the designated
The living will does not affect life insurance and cannot be required for being insured or for the receipt of health care services. Any medical treatment that is used for the purpose of providing comfort or alleviation of pain will be continued unless otherwise stated in the will.
One way to ensure that the patient’s wishes will be honored is the naming of someone who is trusted for the making of medical decisions. This person is named as a proxy, or durable power of attorney, to make only those medical decisions related to the care of the patient. This person should be named in the living will. A replacement should also be named in case the person originally named is unable or unwilling to perform the duties of the proxy. If a proxy is not named by the patient, state law will determine guardianship.
If you have any questions you about living wills or proxy designation, contact the hospice. We will do our best to answer any questions you may have, and help refer you to the appropriate resources.
After your loved one has passed on, there are many things that you need to do. The first things that the executor of the estate needs to do are:
The next thing that needs to be done is to apply for probate of the will. Probate is the procedure by which the court will prove the will to be valid or invalid. In most cases, probate involves collecting the deceased’s assets, liquidating liabilities, paying necessary taxes, and distributing property to the named heirs. The executor should visit the Surrogate’s Office, known as the Registrar of Wills in some cases, of their country.
They should bring with them:
It is important to have a will so that you can direct exactly how your property should be distributed, rather than leaving that to task to the state. When writing your will, it is also important to follow all legal
guidelines. Your will must be signed and documented, and it is important to have it notarized. If the will is not notarized, than witnesses will have to be provided and will have to come in to sign witness forms. It may be best to contact your lawyer and ask for assistance in forming you will.
Your will ranks up there as one of the most important and far reaching documents that you will ever sign. A will should be viewed as an expression of you and your feeling for your loved ones, as well as those causes
and institutions close to your heart. This is what a will empowers you to do:
Make a small change in your will can be done by using a “codicil”. This is simply an amendment that will take care of your desired change while at the same time preserve the balance of your will.
If you find you need to make major changes, a new will would be the recommended path. Your new will would also need to specifically revoke all previous will that might exist.
In either situation you will need your attorney’s help. Every 3 or 4 years it is recommended hat you visit with your attorney regarding your will. There might be some changes that you would not know about in state and federal laws that could affect you.
If you find that you have to make changes to your will, we hope that you would give positive consideration to one more: A bequest to Karen Ann Quinlan Charitable Foundation. A simple statement is all it would take:
“I bequest to Karen Ann Quinlan Charitable Foundation, located at 99 Sparta Avenue, Newton, NJ 07860 the sum of $______ for its’ purposes.”
They are several different types of bequests you can use to accomplish your objectives: Specific, General, Residuary, Contingent, and Percentage.
During the distribution of an estate a specific bequest is always satisfied first. When the estate is not large enough to cover all the bequests, the specific requests are satisfied first. A specific bequest is a bequest of a specific item, distinguished from all other items- “my grandfather clock,” “my savings account at _____ Bank #2929440,””my blue Oriental rug.” If you dispose of the item expressed in a specific bequest during your lifetime and do not update your will, the intended recipient of that bequest does not receive anything. A good reason to periodically review.
During the distribution of an estate, the general bequest is satisfied second. A general bequest is a bequest of property, which is similar to all other items of the same kind, usually cash. When there is insufficient cash to meet the general bequests, property passing under the residue will be sold to raise the necessary cash.
A percentage bequest is a bequest that is based on a percentage (5%, 10%, 50%) of the residue of another asset. When you utilize percentage bequests in your will, it is very likely that the recipient will receive something, as was your intention. But there is no precise way to tell exactly what dollar amount the bequest will be worth.
A residuary bequest is a bequest of all or a portion of the balance of your estate after the specific and general requests are satisfied. The residue is the last portion of your estate to be settled. The residue is the last portion of your estate after the specific and general requests are satisfied.
You can set up a contingent bequest to take effect if your primary intention cannot be met or maybe that person predeceases you.
If there is no property will be distributed according to the state’s intestacy laws. The surviving spouse, or the next of kin if there is no spouse, may apply to the Surrogate (Registrar) to become the administrator of the estate. To apply to become administrator, you must bring:
There are many different organizations that may need to be contacted after your loved one has passed on. A few of the more important ones are:
If it can be very helpful to have the family to have photocopies of records/documents which are needed to settle an estate stored in a place where they are easily available. The original documents should be kept in a fireproof box, safe deposit box, or safe. The items you should have photocopied
and stored together are:
The above will not be applicable for everyone, but it is a basic checklist of what information it is important to have organized at the time of passing.