Do you have all of your proper paperwork completed and ready?
Today I watched a new series on PBS titled "Your Turn to Care". It is a four part series on caring for our aging parents which touches on some of the things we as caregivers face.
One segment touched on the need to have all the proper paperwork completed in advance of any issues arising so that we are, as the one gentlemen put it, " proactive instead of reactive". If we are properly prepared for what we know will in time come up, we can be much more relaxed and confident that we can handle any situation to come up. There are three very important pieces of information that ALL adults should have completed, not just the elderly. They are:
- A Will
- Advanced Medical Directive / Advance Health Care Directive
- Power of Attorney
that only wealthy people need a will. However this is just simply not true. Every adult should have a will, as this simple document is your way of conveying your wishes after you die. Not only assets such as money and property are passed on in a will, but even small things like a favorite necklace or ring, a book you treasure or some other items that you would like a certain person, perhaps a close friend, to have can be put in a will. It is your way of controlling how your things are passed on.
A will does not need to be complicated. There are websites that provide templates for you to use to design your will. One website I found and used is DoYourOwnWill.com If you have large assets an attorney can draw up the will for you so you are sure everything is in order. In the will you will name an executor of your estate. This person will be the one who is in charge of seeing to it that the will is properly followed, so choose wisely. Some people choose a son or daughter, some will chose their attorney. Whomever you feel comfortable with and can trust to carry out your wishes. Once your will is complete you will need two, or in some states, three witnesses to sign the will, verifying that the will is yours and you are the one signing this will. These witnesses should not be any person named in your will to inherit anything. You may also chose to have the will notarized. If so do not sign it until you are in front of the notary and the witnesses. Having it notarized is not necessary but will help verify it if there are any court proceedings after your death, so I highly recommend it.
"If we are properly prepared for what we know will, in time come up, we can be much more relaxed and confident that we can handle the situation at hand."
You will feel so much better after completing this process. The weight will be off your shoulders and there will be no questions when you pass.
If you are a caregiver for your parents and they do not have a will, urge them to get this done well ahead of time while they can still make the decisions on their own. This is especially important if there are several siblings involved, as we have all heard of the battles that can be fought over possessions and decisions when one fails to leave a will.
In my next post I will discuss Advanced Medical Directives. This is another item every adult should have.
As for my mom, well she is about the same. I am meeting with a person who will show me some Adult Foster Homes for mom. These homes are small, usually 6 residents, and are a great alternative to a nursing home. They are more 'home like' and much more affordable. I will update you on what I find - until then if you want to know what an Adult Foster Home looks like (these are also called Homes for the Aged), a beautiful one in West Bloomfield, Michigan can be seen by visiting their website here; AhavaGroupHome.com. This is a beautiful home, a bit out of our price range but the people are so wonderful and the place is spotless. If you want a small setting for your mother this is a great choice, wish we could afford.
Until next time Take Care