Insurance and Finance

Prepping Your Final Paperwork

By Jennifer Chappell Smith 6.18.14

Bills and car tag renewals. This kind of paperwork clutters counters. Then there are “important papers.” Tax returns. Stock or bond certificates. Stuff we put in a lock box.

But many of us put off the ultimate paperwork we have to deal with — documents that can ease our final days for us and our families. Take care of these matters now, before poor health prevents you from making your last wishes known.

According to the nonprofit Caring Connections, an Advance Health Care Directive encompasses two kinds of legal documents:

  • Medical Power of Attorney. Also known as a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, this document authorizes a trusted person to make decisions for you if you cannot.
  • Living Will. Called a Directive to Physicians and Family or Surrogates in Texas, this document gives you a place to write down your wishes for the kind of treatment you want under difficult medical circumstances. For instance, you can indicate whether you’d like to prolong life by any means necessary.

It’s no fun to contemplate such matters, but better to think about it now and plan ahead with someone you trust than to ask loved ones to do so in a hospital waiting room down the road. Estate planning is offered as a free service to Texas Farm Bureau Insurance members. Talk to your agent about meeting with one of our advisors.

Each state has designated legal forms for advance directives. In Texas, visit your Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent or go to the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services to download them, along with other such forms — from a Statutory Durable Power of Attorney form, which allows an agent to make decisions about your property to an Out-of-Hospital Do Not Resuscitate form.

Even if you’re perfectly healthy, ensure that family and close friends know you have such documents in place and how to access them.