Wills, trusts, advance directives, and more. Caregivers are crucial!
Hello to all my fellow caregivers out there today! I hope you are having an OK Friday.
Today is the three month ‘anniversary’ of the passing of my wife. Tough, tough day, but it got me thinking.
My daughter told me I had to find something ‘good’ about the day and the only thing I could come up with was that it was good I had pushed for us to take care of our wills, a living trust, advance directives, medical, financial, and legal Power of Attorneys, funeral decisions, etc. ahead of her passing. It made a gigantic difference to my children and me when this day came.
Following up with all the minutia one must deal with is tough enough, but if I had to have been asking myself during each step ‘what would my wife have really wanted?’ it would have been ten times more difficult, and this is even truer for our adult children.
It was not easy to have those discussions, but it paid off with huge dividends for the family.
While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, my wife even designed her own service.
Like I said, not easy stuff to talk about, but far better than if I had been left to guess it all out afterwards.
Peace and strength to all,
Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Caregivers Support Group.
@IndianaScott What a difficult day for you, Scott. Your topic for the day is so timely. I’m so pleased to know that you and your wife had your “affairs in order” prior to her passing. This is a great topic of conversation. I hope that it hits a responsive chord with everyone in Mayo Connect. While these conversations are difficult they make all the difference in the world as you and your children can attest.
Thanks @hopeful33250. Someday the 7th of each month will pass as just another day, but not yet. I still cry far too much…
It made such a difference our children, only in their 30s, both went out to attorneys and did all their paperwork too.
Peace and strength,
@IndianaScott You are blessed to be able to cry! It means you had a special relationship with your wife. May the peace and strength that you wish for others be yours!
Thank you for posting this important topic Scott. Only this summer did my mom and I discuss revisiting her will and advance directives since my father’s passing almost 3 years ago. It was largely a good conversation, well not one actually. We had to have several shorter conversations to piece it all together satisfactorily because so many family discussions come up through the process. Sometimes the conversations got pretty deep, either reminiscing about the past or analyzing the present, then we’d have to take a break. We tended to have these conversations while walking with our poles. Some conversations are easier when not looking directly face to face. If something energized or frustrated us, we’d walk faster. Not a bad thing, eh?
I take solace in knowing that I can now follow my mother’s wishes as she dictated them, and they may change, which is okay too.
PS: I thought it might be helpful to include in this discussion tools or online resources that people found helpful to get information and to prepare end of life documents. There are quite a few out there.
@colleenyoung We need to be careful regarding recommending online resources for legal documents. A lot of the documents available for purchase online are not reliable (despite their advertisements). The better option, if people don’t want to consult an attorney, is to check on the State Bar website for the state where they reside and get guidelines that are in compliance with the state’s requirements. As I worked in a law office for a number of years, I understand how folks can be surprised when they find the online docs might not be legally appropriate. This is especially true for medical powers of attorney (also called patient advocate forms). Each state differs in the laws regarding medical decisions. Also, financial powers of attorney are different from state to state and some financial institutions do not accept just any document. Better to be spend a little money and get the correct document. The State Bar of Michigan has a website with legally acceptable documents for Michigan residents, but I don’t know if this is true for every state.
Such a wise caution Teresa. My intent was to find resources that would guide people how to prepare for talking about their will and advance directives with family as well as with an attorney. I’m glad that you raise the issue of the acceptance of documents, and the differences from state to state, and from country to country.
On another note, I found this article about research that was done at Stanford showing that more people are preparing advance directives over the past decade http://aging.stanford.edu/2014/04/advance-directives-popular-last-decade/
This topic has been on my mind a lot recently. Mayo Clinic also has a good article on preparing an advanced directive – http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/in-depth/living-wills/art-20046303?pg=2. They also have a good article describing the differences between a living will and an advanced directive – http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/in-depth/living-wills/art-20046303. Every time I go to the clinic it’s the first thing they ask me – do you have a living will? My wife and I set one up years ago and keep it in a safety deposit box but I think I need to update it and keep one more readily available.
Great Advice Teresa!! Saving money is always on our minds as we try to get through all the medical expenses: however, our
attorney (state of Michigan also) has helped us from the time my husband got sick with the documents I need to carry on when
he cannot perform those duties with me Getting good advice from your personal attorney or if you cannot afford an attorney, there
are ways to get some free help from various senior groups in your area. If you have the time to do the research, that would be
the best way to take care of all your needs for the future. We just do NOT want to face the future, especially when we know what
is waiting at the other end, but my husband and I have talked about how to go forward together and that really helps. Now that
we are in a state of not really knowing what is going on from day to day, I have the ability to take care of our needs. Each couple
is different, but at least we are doing the best we can for our loved ones and their care.
Hello @ozys, It’s good to hear from another Michigan resident! I’m glad to hear that you have your documents drafted by an attorney. One of the greatest expenses people have to deal with is when they try to save money on legal documents. It can cost much more both financially and personally. Get it done right is always my advice.