There is no better gift for your loved ones than leaving your estate in order. This is more true if you are living in a foreign country with a different language, different customs and different laws. On these pages, we hope to help you find resources to help you plan, organize and decide.
There are three legal documents of prime importance regarding end of life care and disposition of your assets. Each document must stand independent of the other and cannot be combined into a single document. The Advanced Directive relates to your care as long as you are living. The Last Will and Testament only becomes effective after your death. The Durable Power of Attorney is only effective when you are alive and is automatically canceled upon death.
Advanced Directive/Living Will. An advanced directive, often called a living will, allows you to name a person to make health care decisions for you in the event you are not able to direct your medical care. The advanced directive, as it pertains to Guanajuato, Mexico, deals with naming a health care representative and a statement of what treatments you will, or will not, receive if you cannot speak for yourself. In Mexico, the Advanced Directive (Ley de Voluntad Anticipada) must be done with a notary and the document must be registered with state authorities.
Last Will and Testament. A Last Will and Testament is especially important if you own real estate in Mexico. The will must be a legal document drawn up by a Mexican Notary. A Will from a foreign country can be probated in Mexico, but it is costly, complicated and time consuming. If you do not have real estate or a complicated estate, it may be easier to make an informal handwritten will for the disposition of your furniture, vehicle and personal belongings. Note that, unlike other parts of the world, the Last Will and Testament (Testmonio ?) only is considered after the death of the person. You cannot include health care directives and health care proxy in your Last Will and Testament.
Even Spanish is not your first language, you will be asked to hand write the details of your will and give that to the Notary. They will use that document to translate your instructions into Spanish uning a professional and certified translator.
When you make your will here in Mexico, remember to limit its applicability to ONLY you Mexican assets so you do not accidently cancel your other Last Will and Testament you have prepared for assets outside of Mexico.
Durable Power of Attorney. A Power of Attorney must be drawn up by a Mexican Notary and registered properly. This document can give someone unlimited power to act on your behalf or it can be as narrow and limited as you choose. This is not the same as the health care representative in your Advanced Directive. The durable power of attorney is a separate and, also, very important document. Your named power of attorney could be enabled to manage you daily and monthly financial obligations if you are unable to do so yourself. They would have the power to make deposits needed to be admitted to a hospital, pay your rent and utilities, pay employees and so forth.
Organization of important documents and passwords. The digital world has become complex with many passwords needed to carry out your daily business on line. Leaving a complete list of important user names and passwords is essential for your survivors to manage your end of list wishes and decisions.
24 Hour Association. The 24 hour association is a prepaid plan of cremation and burial services. It is a blessing for expats living in San Miguel without a partner perfectly fluent is the spanish language and mexican law. There is a one time fee to join and you can choose from cremation, cremation with niche at the cemetary, a full burial in San Miguel or even a repatriation of your remains to your previous city and country. 24 Hour association: https://24assoc.com/ Tel: 415 121 0010 email: email@example.com
Funeral Homes. There are many funeral homes in San Miguel. Some of them will contract with a person to pre-pay the disposition of their remains. We do not specifically recommend any one over the other. Here is the names of a few that we have seen used frequently:
Hospice Care by Mitigare. Mitigare Cuidados Paliativos AC is a nonprofit hospice caring for all persons in the region.
Advanced directives in Mexico and Guanajuato are carefully regulated by law. Here we can help you understand the steps to take to name a health care proxy and specify what medical interventions you may or may not want.
United States Consul. When a United States citizen dies in Mexico, the US Consul must be notified. Unless there is a living family member in San Miguel, the consul will take possession of the deceased property until a relative can arrive. The consul will also arrange for copies of the Death of a American Citizen Abroad which takes place of a Death Certificate when handling the deceased business in the United States. The consul can arrange for you to receive 20 certificates. They are indispensable in dealing with banks, insurance companies, etc.
Here are some links to important resources: funeral homes, 24 Hour Association, …
Advanced Directives are state specific in Mexico. In Guanajuato you must have your choice for health care proxy and choices for treatment notarized and registered. For more information, click above.
other references such as Hard Choices
The 5 Wishes is a well known way to state your Advanced Directives and choice of health care proxy in the USA. They are recognized as legal in 48 USA states.
UNDER CONSTRUCTION. THIS INFORMATION WILL BE POSTED SOON.
For more information, click above.
San Miguel’s community has come together to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on us. Of special significance we want to thank Joey Merrifield and Jessica Frick Liston for their efforts to inform and care for the expat community.
In this link you will find practical information regarding the pandemic including the Home Health Guide including a plan about how to care for someone with COVID-19 in their home.
Videos to understand hospice care, palliative care, etc.
Caring for each other. Many expats in San Miguel do not have deep roots and persons ready to care for them in event of an embergency or illness. We have seen small groups come together to share care duties
The legal documents to achieve certain goals are similar to those we remember from the USA or Canada. Mexico tends to be more formal and notaries are often required for simple documents. Here is the information we have been able to gather for you.
The 24 Hour Association provides prepaid plans for cremation and burial services that fully comply with Mexican law. They also provide, as a part of the service, other essential assistance to navigate the post-death procedures.