• Zoe
    SMA has a lot of old people. And when you are old it is more important than ever to prepare for that.

    My friend just went thru a horror story with a Drama Queen. This is a true story. Only the name has been changed to protect the guilty.

    DQ is elderly. Approaching 90. She fell. The maid found her, unconscious, some time later. Serious brain damage. She had not done the paperwork we had encouraged her to do.

    So … transport her to the hospital. But which one? Who was her doctor? Who is gonna pay for this? Did she have insurance? How do you contact the important people in her life? Who has authority to assist her? Even unconscious ... the drama continues!

    The dysfunctional … spend their lives mopping up messes. But in this case it was others doing the mopping.

    The maid sorta lived at the hospital caring for DQ. Unpaid. And will remain unpaid because DQ had done some other stupid (but dramatic!) things which resulted in bank accounts being cleaned out.

    When they were able to get DQ home, what with the brain damage, she didn’t recognize those helping her nor could she process where she was. She will likely not recover from this brain damaged state. She needs help … while the funds to pay for that have gone missing.

    So the drama continues. She lingers on but likely she will die soon. She has no local relatives. She did do a pointless (but dramatic!) will. Pointless because she owns no real estate and thus probate cannot be opened. If it were, the costs involved would probably be more than her few belongs are worth.

    I want to avoid this. I want my death to be as uneventful as possible. And I want to do my homework now.

    So … some time ago I began to prepare. I am making a notebook of important papers and instructions. There is one for passwords. And since I have no relatives here, I have joined the 24 hour association.

    I would like this topic to be about …

    • What documents are needed.
    • What are the facts about the 24 hour association. I understand it is the only entity
      that can take responsibility for the body in the absence of a relative.
      Otherwise it is kinda decompose in place.
    • Sources of information
      Links and professionals and phone numbers
    • What about a living will
    • And whatever else you think of that is appropriate

    I will post more … with each post being about one specific topic
  • Bev Brinson
    Another option is body donation through the University of Guanajuato.They have a permission form, and are willing to meet with people in San Miguel through an appointment. We met at the Biblioteca.

    Here is what they need for each donor:

    1. Your full name, age, telephone number, address, civil status (single, married, divorce, widow or widower), actual work activity or you can mention that you are pensioned (jubilado/jubilada).
    2. The name of your closest relatives (for example, your wife/husband, son or daughter who also agree with your decision), mention if they are alive or death and their address in case they also are alive.
    3. The full name of 2 direct personal references that will function as witnesses and their signatures in the forma. They could be relatives (husband/wife or brothers/sisters etc…) or friends. If you don´t have one, I can get both of them.
    4. A copy of an ID (passport, residency card, INE…) from you and your witnesses.

    The permission form is elaborated on the basis of the regulation for the disposition of bodies for academic purposes of the General Health Law of México. If you agree with the donation, is very recommended to schedule an appointment to clarify the doubts and sign the permission at the Department of Medicine and Nutrition if you live in León Guanajuato, or we can go to the city you live. The procedure is free. We will give you a personalized card with the instructions in case de donor dies.

    University of Guanajuato Campus León Anatomy Laboratory:
    01 (477) 328-22-90
    01 (477) 2674900 ext 3682 from 8:30 to 13:30h
    045 (477) 2884238

    Dr. Gerardo Chávez Saavedra
    Cirugía General y Laparoscopía Avanzada
    PTC Universidad de Guanajuato - Campus León
    Correo: Twitter: @DRCHAVEZS
    Torre de Laboratorios 4° Piso – Laboratorio de Anatomía Ext. 3682
    Av. Puente del Milenio #1001 Col. Fracc. Del Predio San Carlos CP 37670

    Bev Brinson
  • Glenn Wilson
    Thanks for this info!

    Is this the same as organ donation? Or, if not, do you know if someone is also an organ donor, is this process consistent with that or is there a conflict?
  • Bev Brinson
    No, this is under the assumption that by the time we die, our organs might not be valid for the donation. They come, pick up the body, and transfer to the University at no cost. We have cards in both English and Espanol.
  • Zoe
    I wanted to donate my body. However, I have no relatives. And I understood that is an issue. I had to go with the 24 Hour Association as they are the only entity authorized in Mexico to deal with the body in the absence of relatives and to take advantage of that, one must have a signed agreement in advance.

    Correct me if I am wrong, please.
  • Bev Brinson
    Zoe, I don't have the answer since that was not an issue for me.
  • Zoe
    My question still stands.

    The University release form requests ... The name of your closest relatives (for example, your wife/husband, son or daughter who also agree with your decision), mention if they are alive or death and their address in case they also are alive.

    The 24 hour association states on it's website ... (The 24 Hour Assn. is the ONLY entity which can register the death and supply the Mexican death certificate WITHOUT the involvement of the deceased’s family. No funeral home can do this.)


    I was just told an elderly woman with no known relatives just "signed the form" and thus doesn't need the 24 hour Association!

    Is there anyone who can provide a definitive answer? Ahhhh I will email Dr. Chavez and when I learn I will let you know. Thank you Bev for the email address.
  • Charlene McDonald
    Thanks everyone. Now I am confused because I have a contract with Jardines Nueva Vida, a large local mortuary to come and pick up my body, cremate it within 24 hours, and return the ashes to my apartment. Where a friend will take it from there… I have been assured repeatedly by Jardines that they have the authority to do all of this without any of my relatives being in Mexico. Yet I remember being hesitant at first because of what the 24 Hour Society said about their being the only ones in Mexico allowed to deal with a body when there are no local relatives. I have my son among others on the contract to contact in case of my death but he is not supposed to have to come to SMA.

    I also just recently had a living will prepared by a notary/attorney in town saying I don’t want any extraordinary measures done for me if I am terminally ill etc. I have a friend in town who is my contact on that and I am her contact. Basically we are each other’s POA. I have the much more detailed US version, Which I understand is not valid in Mexico.

    Do I need to be worried about either of these decisions?

    Also, I have a friend who has set up body donation with the University of Guanajuato. She has no relatives living in Mexico so she had to appoint a trusted Mexican friend with power of attorney in case of her death here. This is not organ donation, this is total body donation. I took anatomy for a year with the University of Chicago medical students and we used cadavers for this training. These we’re all people who had unselfishly gifted their bodies to science so that future doctors could learn. I do not know, but am guessing donating your body to the University would include this sort of thing.

    Any input, especially on my choice of Jardines for cremation, is much appreciated.
  • Maxine Arnold
    I have a will but don't own property. Glenn: you stated that without owning property, a will is useless. The lawyer I used didn't mention that to me. This is the first time I ever heard that. Can you verify that a will is useless without owning property? I don't see what the difference is. Gracias, Maxine
  • Glenn Wilson

    Zoe (not Glenn) said:
    She did do a pointless (but dramatic!) will. Pointless because she owns no real estate and thus probate cannot be opened.Zoe

    Zoe, can you elaborate?
  • Maxine Arnold
    Pointless because she owns no real estate and thus probate cannot be opened.
    she said POINTLESS because she has no real estate neither do I does that mean my will is pointless??? Maxine
  • Zoe
    Thank you for reviewing my original comment. "Pointless because she owns no real estate and thus probate cannot be opened. If it were, the costs involved would probably be more than her few belongs are worth." To elaborate it further I may use some legal words incorrectly, but the meaning is still the same.

    The point of a will is to have property distributed legally. To do that a will must be probated. To open probate in Mexico the person with the will to be probated must have owned real estate. No real estate, no probate, no legal distribution of property. So a will in this case is a nice (expensive) piece of paper that won't make it into probate court.

    I know of one situation where person A is leaving person B all their furniture. There is little else. But if probate were allowed to be opened, which it won't be, then the legal costs of probate could easily run more than the furniture is worth or could be sold for.

    By not allowing probate in cases like these, the government is protecting the little people. That has to do with you said ... I don't see what the difference is. The difference is the amount of money involved.

    There are other ways to distribute your worldly goods. I am actually looking into it and will post what I learn here.

    Do the lawyers tell you this? Not usually. For if they did, would you pay them to draw up a will for you? Most people just ask for a will. They don't ask ... can this will be probated. I am thinking, Maxine, that you want this verified. Why not call your/a lawyer and ask him?

    That is why we are having this discussion. To help educate each other.

    Ciao 4 niao ... Zoe
  • Glenn Wilson
    I've talked to two lawyers about related issues this week.

    One takeaway is that if you own real estate in SMA you probably want a will.

    On the other hand, one of the lawyers said if someone comes to him for a will, if they do not own real estate here, he generally advises them they do not need one. Notice the wiggle words probably and generally. For any specific question about a specific situation, ask a lawyer or maybe a notario.

    A few related notes / links from searching the internet (more details at each of the links):

    However, if absolutely all of your property in Mexico falls under operation of law or contract, then a Mexican Will may not be required. ... Another good example is bank account(s) with beneficiary designations. In either case, the property so designated will avoid probate. ...

    If the couple does not have a Mexican Will and they have children, it is probable that the surviving spouse will be disinherited. Most couples will want to have a Will for this reason alone. ...

    After a person dies, Probate provides the legal process for transferring title to those properties that do not transfer some other way. If there is a Will, probate in Mexico is generally carried out in private at a Notario’s office. If there is no Will, if the Will is contested, or if there are guardianship issues, the Mexican courts get involved.
    AccessLakeChapala: Will and Testament

    A foreigner with property in Mexico who dies will have their property distributed to their legal heirs, depending on whether they die without a Will (ab intestate), with a Mexican Will, or with a foreign Will.MexLaw: Who Will Inherit Your Property in Mexico?

    There is not a consensus of what the law requires so we advise you to get a legal advisor if you have valuable property in Mexico and you want to control what will happen to it in the event of your death. Estate laws are governed by each Mexican state and there are differences among them. Wills are not under Federal jurisdiction so the state laws governing Wills prevail.BaJa123: SETTING UP A LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT IN BAJA

    If the property is located in the interior of the country, outside of the “restricted zone”, the strip of land 50 miles wide along the coastlines and 100 miles wide along the borders, then more than likely the property is held outright in a fee simple deed.

    In Mexico, there is no such thing as right of survivorship permitting the property to automatically transfer to the surviving spouse. At the first death, assuming the husband and wife own the property 50/50, an undivided half will be transferred pursuant to the deceased’s will or pursuant to the state’s civil code.

    In the event the deceased does not have a will and there are surviving children, it is possible that, even in states with revised Civil Codes such as Guanajuato and Baja California Sur, the surviving spouse will have no more than an equal share with the children. In other words, if Mr. Jones has a wife and four children who survive him, Mrs. Jones will receive only a one-fifth undivided interest in Mr. Jones’s 50% interest in the property.
    Gringo Gazette: The Mexican Will – Is it Necessary?

    MEXICAN WILL. Anyone, whether or not they are a Mexican citizen, can make a legally binding Will in Mexico. It’s called a “Testamento”.

    Although a Private Will (typed but not notarized) and a Holographic Will (handwritten) are legal ways to make a Testamento, they may be difficult to validate and enforce in court. For that reason, I always recommend that the Testamento be made and registered by a Mexican notario publico. Mexican courts presume that a notarial Testamento is valid without the need to call the witnesses to court to validate the Will. That’s the great advantage of a notarial Will over private and holographic wills. Of course, in an emergency, you may not have the time or chance to make a notarial will, so in that case a private or holographic Will would be better than nothing.

    A Mexican Will should be strictly limited to the assets you own in Mexico. It can govern your bank trust rights in property, bank accounts and any other Mexican assets you may have.
    Banderas News: If You Own Property in Mexico, You Need Both a Mexican Will and Beneficiary Notice

    US and Canadian citizens living in Mexico frequently ask, “Do I need a Mexican Will? While there is no legal requirement to have a Will executed in Mexcio, our recommendation, even for people whose only asset in Mexico is their real property held in trust, is to be proactive and draft a Mexican Will. The principal reason is that Mexican property is often caught outside of the trust arrangements: automobiles, jewelry, objects of art, shares in golf clubs, business interests, etc. The second reason is that intestate laws in Mexico are not always favorable to surviving spouses and seldom distribute property in the manner in which the decedent would have liked. If you have property in Mexico and die without any Will, the state courts will look to the intestate provisions of their respective civil code to determine the disposition of assets and establish guardianships.

    If absolutely all of your property in Mexico will pass by operation of law or contract, then a Mexican Will may not be required. For example, if you hold property in a fideicomiso (Mexican Trust), the trust document will determine who inherits the beneficial right to the property. Another good example are bank accounts that have beneficiary designations. In either case, property will avoid probate.
    Mexican Wills - How Foreign Residents Can Avoid Losing Control of Their Estates
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