Where Did I Put That?

By J.C. Bailey

Recently I was talking with a friend who is a longtime fire fighter and paramedic.  He shared his frustration because of misplaced documents.  In many instances, a patient has made the choice to go home to die.  After consulting with their physicians, family and friends, they execute documents expressing their desire not to be resuscitated.    Unfortunately, a well-meaning family member or friend calls 911 and a paramedic arrives on the scene just as the patient has passed away.  He asks to see a copy of the DNR and is told that they can’t find it.  The reason the patient came home was to die and yet the document that will keep him and his family from the trauma of trying to resuscitate him cannot be located.  Without the DNR, the paramedic must begin a process that no one wanted to happen but that legally has to be performed.  Sad, pointless and a violation of the patient’s wishes, and all because of a misplaced document.

I face a similar challenge when people can’t locate a will or some other important document.  The best estate planning is only effective if it can be produced.  A copy of a will is not a will.  The best of intentions do not produce an estate plan, and some hiding places are so good that even you can’t remember them.  Would you show up at the theater, a concert or a sporting event without having located your tickets?  Do you wait for the boat to capsize to look for the life jackets?  Please go and put your hands on your will, trust, powers of attorney and medical directives right now.  If you think you know where they are, then put your mind at ease by reviewing them.  If you find them and they still express your wishes, return them to safe keeping.  If you can’t find them, don’t assume that they will turn up.  After a diligent but unsuccessful search or if you need to make changes, contact Mr. Bailey at Bailey & Galyen.

When we do your estate planning, we will be happy to talk to you about the best way to protect your family and the best way to secure your documents.

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