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Granting Permission

We can count on needing support somewhere along the way. Let's do what we can to make it easier for others to help us.


Task 1 - Assign a medical decision maker

Someone you trust needs permission to work with doctors and others to help make healthcare choices if you’re unable to make your own decisions. The way to give that permission is through advance directives

Advance Directives

Advance directives are legal documents that assign a medical decision maker and describe what matters most to you so the person you choose knows how to direct your treatment. 

If you don’t already have an attorney to help create these documents, I recommend the PREPARE Advance Directive. In addition to free, legal, easy-to-read advance directives for every state, PREPARE has a step-by-step program with video stories to help you make these important decisions -- and make them legally valid. 

If you already have an advance directive document, great. Get it out and read it. Make sure it still says what you want it to say!

This task is complete when...

You have discussed and shared your legally valid advance directive with the person you've chosen as your medical decision maker.


Task 2 - Give someone access to your home

If something happens to you, it may be important to get into your home for any number of reasons…to get the kids, walk the dog, get the mail, turn things off, up, or down. Plan ahead and give someone the key, the code, the written permission -- whatever it takes to safely and easily get in your home without setting off an alarm, involving a locksmith, or causing an escalation with a building manager. 

This task is complete when...

Someone other than you is in possession of the keys, codes, and/or access procedures for your home.


Task 3 - Give someone access to your devices

If you're like most people, you use your phone and/or computer to store contacts, communicate with friends, save documents, take pictures, and more. Consider giving someone you trust the passcode to your most frequently used devices. If you only want to give access in case of emergency, you could ask a trusted professional advisor to share the information only in case of an emergency (or only under certain specific conditions.)

This task is complete when...

Someone you trust knows how to access your phone or computer in case of emergency.


Task 4 - Give someone permission to pay your bills

It doesn’t take long for bills to pile up. If you’ve got absolutely everything on auto-pay maybe this task isn’t critical. Maybe for a short term injury, things could roll along without intervention…but you never know, right? Think about the household accounts for which you’re responsible and imagine who would pay them (like actually send the money) if you were out of commission for a month or more.

Set aside some time to write down and share information about all of your household accounts (things like water, gas, electric, cellphone, etc.)  

This task is complete when...

You're not the only one who knows how to pay the bills for household accounts.


Step 5 - Give someone permission to "be" you

Sometimes your delegate needs to have the same authority as you yourself have, not just "authorized access". For example, if someone needs to appeal an insurance decision, close an account, or sell property for you, they must have the legal authority to do so. That legal authority is granted through a power of attorney document.

Power of Attorney

A power of attorney document designates an attorney-in-fact who can act on your behalf in legal, financial, and property matters. You can decide who this person should be, when it takes effect and how broad to make the powers granted.

If you can afford one, it’s a good idea to consult a lawyer. Many offer estate planning packages that include an advance directive, a power of attorney, and a will or simple trust. 

If your estate is not complicated, other options include downloading a free form from your state government's website (search for [your state] power of attorney form) or using an online service like Trust and Will.

This task is complete when...

You have discussed and shared your legally valid power of attorney with the person you've chosen as your attorney-in-fact.

Need Help? Join Us on Slack!

This week's tasks have included some really big topics. If you need help, or just want to chat, you can find me and others who are making their own Peace of Mind Plan there. 

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