The 24-Hour Association and You
By Natalie Hardy
The expats of San Miguel have an uncanny ability to provide for their unique needs when living in a foreign country. Consider the 24-Hour Association, a perfect example. Established in 1965, this group takes care of the official and the personal needs and requests of a member who passes away in San Miguel.
While such considerations are sobering, it is a wonderful feeling to make decisions about this event and put it behind you with the clarity of knowing who, what, where, and how your passing will be handled. Following are some questions to ponder regarding the possibility of your unexpected or expected demise in San Miguel:
1) Have you given anyone instructions about what to do? Your maid? A friend? A family member?
2) Do you know Mexican Law regarding procedures and requirements upon death?
3) Do you own property, and do you have a Mexican will?
4) Have you indicated on an available document what you want done and where?
5) Do you have a trusted friend or relative capable of acting on your wishes?
Many people here have not made these provisions, and the consequences can be devastating. Over 50 years ago, forward-looking residents of San Miguel considered these issues, and organized the 24-Hour Association to answer such needs. How does this group function?
1) The 24-Hour Association is a preplanned, prepaid funeral organization. It is necessary to become a member to participate.
2) Each member files a form with contact information, designated doctor, location of will, and pertinent wishes upon death.
3) The maid, friend, or relative with you at death contacts the 24-Hour Association.
4) The Executive Secretary, currently Linda Cooper, notifies the funeral home that comes to collect the body.
5) The 24-Hour Association then contacts the people indicated in the member’s file and the designated doctor, who supplies the funeral home with necessary forms to register the death. The deceased’s wishes are then carried out.
Here is an important point. Due to a recent law, the Mexican authorities now require the presence of a family member to register a death. However, in the case of the 24-Hour Association, the Executive Secretary serves as a family member for all 24-Hour Association members. This is a huge advantage. Imagine what this means for someone, like so many of us, who have no relatives in San Miguel. Other private (for-profit) groups cannot act on your behalf. The 24-Hour Association is a not-for-profit (Asociación Civil) with land donated to its use by the government in San Miguel. This land, at the Pantheón, located just past the Hotel Real de Minas parking lot, is in perpetuity as a cemetery. Private cemetery enterprises can be and are sold, changing both ownership and care policies.
The 24-Hour Association has a 52-year track record of proven service to its members. These dedicated elected officers, and especially the Executive Secretary, safeguard computer records of members, attend a 24-Hour Vonage phone and a local 24/7 cell phone, and are at the ready for your unexpected or foreseeable passing. By the way, if you are a member, and down the road your plans change so you are not in San Miguel, the Association refunds your one-time membership fee is refundable.
Isn’t such planning something to get off your plate and leave in the hands of a time-proven professional organization? For more information, contact Linda Cooper at 185 2023 or e-mail: email@example.com. The 24-Hour Association will carry out your wishes, and you, in the meantime, can go out and enjoy life unburdened of such considerations.
Natalie Hardy is a Board Member since 2004. She is the current Vice President and attends to public relations needs. She was a member when her husband passed away in San Miguel thirteen years ago.