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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Ecuador Expat Forum - Living wills, 5 wishes. Part one. Quito, Ecuador. January 2014.

Question: In the U.S. if you have a living will and a 5 Wishes document, notarized and with a designated person w/ power of attorney as your advocate, you have some chance of having your last days be somewhat as you would want--do you want aggressive resuscitation and life support at all costs? Do you want comfort care only? Something in between?

Is there anything like that going on in Ecuador or do you just get what you get if you go into a hospital unable to care for yourself?

Contributor  http://www.theoceanhideaway.net/
Answer #1:
If you die "intestate" -- without a will that divides your assets to your heirs, the jurisdiction where you died has the obligation to apply its laws in dividing those assets.
This becomes more complex if you are the citizen of one country and died in another country. And even more murky if you owned property in another country.This is the law of Probate.
To make the entire process simpler for your family, heirs and those you leave behind -- the process is rather straight forward but will require an attorney in the USA and one in Ecuador.
The US consulate has a list of resources for attorneys -- a place to start though by no means the only attorneys. http://guayaquil.usconsulate.gov/service/resources.html
You will need to update your will in the USA to reflect that there is property in Ecuador and that there is a will in Ecuador and the name and contact for the attorney in Ecuador who will handle the probate in this country.
Your Ecuador attorney will prepare and file a will here that references back to your will in the USA. In addition, you want both wills to include that you will leave a hand written list of those small personal effects -- all those little things you accumulate in life that you want friends to have to remember you by -- in a specific place such as night table drawer or desk drawer. in an envelope. Make sure this is in your handwriting. It is where you write down where those earrings you want your friend to have or the vase you bought in Cuenca your empleada likes -- it cuts down on the fighting after you are gone. This is a 'holographic will" -- it doesn't carry as much weight as a will with all the bells and whistles but it does help.
Now about a LIVING Will, Advanced Health Care Directive or Power of Attorney to make Health care Decisions:
You need this because a will does not go into effect until you are died -- and this is for decisions to be prior to death. It includes whether to resuscitate, who makes the decisions, how many make the decision. It also involves necessary decisions as to whom to inform after death before the will is read -- who is called, cremation or burial, will the body be sent back to the US and access to funds to do so. 
The Ecuador attorney can create these documents as well and MUST do so as they need to be in the proper forms in Spanish and need to be properly filed in advanced, notarized and stamped.
And again, be sure your attorney in the US has a copy.
You might also consider providing copies to whoever your executor in the US is and whoever will be handling matters for you in Ecuador, a trusted friend perhaps.
To make matters easier for contact through the consulate -- do sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program -- which gives authorization for the Consulate to speak with another on your behalf


To Be Continued


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Colonial Quito, furnished apartment for rent.
For booking, pictures and more info