What Forms Does a Terminally Ill Person Need?
I am assuming your mother still has the mental capacity to sign legal documents. The following describe some of the main documents needed to prepare for one's incapacity or death. A durable power of attorney is a written power of attorney by which a principal designates another as the principal’s attorney in fact, even after incapacity. A durable power of attorney allows a principal to designate an agent to handle her affairs when she is unable to herself. It ceases to be effective upon the principal's death.
A living will is a document that allows a person to explain in writing which medical treatment he or she does or does not want during a terminal illness. A living will takes effect only when the patient is incapacitated and can no longer express his or her wishes. The will states which medical treatments may be used and which may not be used to die naturally and without the patient’s life being artificially prolonged by various medical procedures. The living will allows a person to make the decision of whether life-prolonging medical or surgical procedures are to be continued, withheld, or withdrawn, as well as when artificial feeding and fluids are to be used or withheld. The living will may also contain an appointment of a health care proxy to carry out the specified wishes.
A health care power of attorney authorizes an agent to make health care decisions for the incapacitated person. It is limited in scope to health care decisions. A general or financial power of attorney may be used to authorize an agent handle financial matters.
A last will should be prepared to designate who is to receive the assets of the estate and appoint an executor for handling the estate affairs. Sometimes a trust is also created to deal with property not dealt with in the will. A pour over will is a will of a person made in conjunction with a trust in which all property is designated to be distributed or managed upon the death of the person whose possessions are in trust, leaving all property to the trust. A pour over will is a safety measure designed to protect any assets which somehow were not included in the trust and make them assets of the trust upon the party's death. A pour over will often provides that if the trust is invalid in whole or in part, the distribution under the will must be made under the same terms as stated in the invalid trust.
There are various ways to transfer real property. It might be placed into a trust and subject to control of a trustee. A deed might also contain a restrictive covenant. An attempt to prevent a future sale outside the family may be voided as a restraint on alienation. However, limiting transfer for a maximum period calculated by "lives in being, plus 21 years" is generally allowed. The rule against perpetuities is aimed at the control of future interests in property, especially real property. It prohibits the grant of an estate where the persons entitled to inherit a future interest cannot be determined with absolute certainty within 21 years after the death of someone alive when the interest was created. In other words, in order to transfer a future interest in property, the transfer must be guaranteed to take place within 21 years after the death of a certain living person. To avoid invalidation under the rule, it is common practice to put "savings clauses" in instruments. These clauses basically state that if the interest created should be deemed to violate the rule against perpetuities it shall terminate one day before twenty-one years after the last life in being has passed.