In case of an emergency: precaution makes safe

Family comes first

Many people like to put off unpleasant things. Simply because then there are questions to be answered that you don't want to think about. An accident, for example, in which you are seriously injured and no longer capable of making decisions. Medically, you can always expect the best possible care. From a purely legal point of view, however, things are somewhat different if you have not taken precautions in good time. Precautions for oneself and especially for the people who come first, the family. Proper precautionary measures make life easier for the people around you in certain situations. Reason enough to put our following precaution set to each truck driver so to speak to the heart.

Will - The last will and testament

Do you already have a will? No? Then you are in good company, because only about 40% of all Germans have written a will. But a will is not only important if assets are involved, such as your own house. Those who have a family and children should especially have a will. Because only then can the last will and testament be flexibly defined beyond the legal succession, i.e. decide for yourself how the inheritance is distributed.

Wills usually only handwritten

There are different types of wills. The most common are the simple will and the Berlin will, in which spouses appoint each other as sole heirs. Both must be handwritten and are legally valid even without a notary. Handwritten means that the will must be written by hand from beginning to end. A last will via computer or typewriter is invalid and does not count. In addition, the paper must contain the date and signature. For security, you can have a neutral person sign the will as a witness. Remember that such a will does not supersede applicable inheritance laws, such as succession, mandatory shares, etc. In the case of larger assets (and this already includes, for example, the single-family house or the ownership of your own truck), you should ask a lawyer for advice. Because inheritance or tax law are relatively complicated laws. With inheritance tax, the tax office is always involved. It is therefore important to arrange the inheritance in such a way that it ultimately makes its recipients "happy". Keep your will in a safe place. It is also possible to deposit the will with a notary or court. And last but not least: you can change or destroy a will at any time or make a new one.


Living will - When nothing works anymore

Another important document is the living will. It always comes into effect if, for example, you are in hospital after a serious accident and are unresponsive or unable to make your own decisions at that time. Even one's own wife cannot make a decision about what should happen in such a case. This is because in Germany, only parents have custody and thus decision-making authority over their minor children. So if there is no living will, a legal guardian must first be appointed by a guardianship court. In the case of a living will, the special relationship of trust that binds you and your "representative" is decisive. The living will can be interpreted very broadly. For example, in matters of property and much more. In any case, with a living will you help your family and other relatives to react quickly in an emergency and to make decisions quickly.

Advance directive - appointing a guardian

Similar to the living will, the care directive always comes into play when you can no longer act independently. However, in this case a guardianship court must decide who will take over the care. Care includes, for example, the administration of assets, housing matters, health measures, etc. In this context, providing care also means being the legal representative of the person concerned, but encouraging him or her to take care of all tasks himself or herself. The person concerned must either apply to the court for guardianship or the court will act ex officio.

Health care power of attorney - Sleep better

The last component of our small precautionary set is the health care proxy. This is again about one or more people being able to make decisions on your behalf. And again, it's all about trust. For example, when it comes to their finances, legal transactions must be handled, up to decisions in the event of death. With a health care proxy, the areas of responsibility can be defined individually. For example, financial matters can be left out or another person can be assigned to organize the funeral. A health care proxy can also be revoked, amended or reissued at any time.

More information - but where?

There is plenty of detailed information on all four topics. In some cases, brochures and forms on the powers of attorney can be downloaded via Google. However, you should be careful and check the pre-printed texts carefully. If you want more detailed information, you can also buy a wide range of specialist books from Amazon, bookstores and other providers. Even if it costs something, foregoing the advice of a lawyer or notary can have expensive consequences. A good place to start for initial information is also the local consumer advice centers and the legal advice centers at the employers' liability insurance associations or trade unions.


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