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  1. #1
    Missouri Star

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    Default Make your will & get your documents in order! Yes, it can happen to you.

    Some of the comments in today's daily thread about elderly relatives, wondering if they have their will & documents in order, prompted me to comment. As a retired nurse, I've observed what happens when folks don't have these preferences & paper work in order.

    For 10 years, I worked in a acute rehabilitation unit at my local hosp. Our patients' ages ranged from teens to 102. We took care of people who were in car accidents, suffered traumatic brain injuries, had brain tumors, strokes, etc. A common age for people to have strokes, esp. men, were ages 35 to 45. Many of these had minor children still living at home. How many people that age are thinking about planning ahead, making POA & end of life decisions, even have a will, let alone a living will that would ensure their wishes are followed in the event they cannot make them themselves. Sadly, most do not.

    I remember one 40 y.o. woman who had a stroke that affected her speech. She had aphasia & could not talk, but she understood what was being said to her. The stroke also affected one side, so her mobility was impaired. She was a single mom with a 5 y.o. dau. but she lived with an alcoholic boyfriend. She had no documents in place.

    Another patient was a 35 y.o. man who suffered a debilitating stroke. He had young children at home. He made a 6 figure income but was suddenly sidetracked with the stroke. He became disabled. Fortunately, he had a supportive wife.

    Some of those strokes were preventable. Risk factors include untreated high blood pressure, history of stroke in the family, drug use, heavy alcohol use, smoking, stress, diabetes, A Fib. & heart disease, to name just a few.

    Regardless of our age, none of us has a guarantee we'll be alive tomorrow. A drunk driver or someone high on drugs (in our state a lot of folks are driving high on marijuana!), could plow into you. It's important to have a will (your property & personal belongings), guardianship of minor children, & a living will (your medical wishes), medical durable power of attorney, etc. documents in place. Are you an organ donor? Does your family know your wishes? It's an uncomfortable topic of discussion for a lot of folks; they don't want to address their mortality. But the time to do this is now.

    Okay, I'm off my soapbox now. But I hope those of you who haven't done this will give it serious thought.

  2. #2
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Make your will & get your documents in order! Yes, it can happen to you.

    Thank you for the public service announcement, Joy. When I retired in 2013 my goal was to get our estate in order. We set up trusts, living wills, etc. A part of our planning was to set up our funeral wishes, and what we wanted our children to do under certain medical circumstances. It took 10 months to complete but now our kids know when something happens they just have to grab our "red books" and contact the estate planner.
    Robin
    My Pinterest Page of the Quilts I've Made: http://www.pinterest.com/rwmomto3/quilts-ive-made/

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  4. #3
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Make your will & get your documents in order! Yes, it can happen to you.

    I did this when I divorced and became sole custodian of minor children. Since then I have updated it with every major life change. There had BETTER not be any arguing when I can't say my wishes. My ex-husband didn't do this and when he died his family kept everything and didn't allow his children even the pictures. It would have broke his heart if he'd known.
    ATTITUDE IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN ORDEAL AND AN ADVENTURE

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  6. #4
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Make your will & get your documents in order! Yes, it can happen to you.

    That was on the list of things to do this year, before Howard passed. It's done now and the boys both know what to do and where the paperwork is, the lawyer's office will make copies of anything they don't have copies of if necessary. My DIL was added to the medical POA at the boys request.

    I agree, Joy. Everyone needs to know what to do about what.

    As for the funeral arrangements... I told them have a party, and don't waste the money on an obituary. lol, they'll charge you for every thing under the sun and they should keep the expenses of a funeral to a minimum. I guess my Mom's it's a waste of money attitude is showing!
    Katrina


    “Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.”
    ― Maya Angelou

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  8. #5
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Make your will & get your documents in order! Yes, it can happen to you.

    We did our funeral planning 10 yrs. ago. Two yrs. ago I went though the pictures & had a friend put together a video in the event of DH's death. Not sure what year we updated our living trust & all the medical papers, but everything is in place. I carry a copy of his LW/DNR in my purse. After a hosp. stay in 2008, DH chose to make himself a DNR. He's weary of living with pain & wishes the Lord would take him home to heaven. God must have a different plan; he's still keeping on, one day at a time, coping with numerous medical problems.

    We have something here called The File of Life. It's a document on which you fill out your medical history, a list of your allergies, current meds., dr. & emergency contacts, etc. We keep them on the frig. They are readily available in case an ambulance comes to the house for an emergency. The EMTs can take a pic of it & forward it to the ER before they even get there with the patient. I also carry copies of those in my purse.

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  10. #6
    Designer Diva

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    Default Re: Make your will & get your documents in order! Yes, it can happen to you.

    What an important posting. My husband and I did this 6 years ago when he first became ill. Wills, Power of Attorneys, Life Directive and Pre arranged funeral etc. From the experience of just losing my husband, all of this made things so much easier for me and our children. Everything was done just the way he wanted....including how his service was planned. It is so important to sit down with your loved ones and do this. Life can take nasty turns at a moments notice. I am very grateful to him that we had these talks.

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  12. #7
    The Guild President

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    Default Re: Make your will & get your documents in order! Yes, it can happen to you.

    I so agree! After my Mom's death, my Dad remarried. We had to threaten him to get him to redo his will and other paper work. Even then, he still had CDs in my Mom's name when he died. It was even worse that my Mom was Mary Alice and my stepmom Mary Ann. Fortunately, she was not after his money, just his companionship. I made sure she lived the remainder of her life in comfort as he wished.

    We check over our plans every few years. Things change, and your plans should be updated now and then.
    Last edited by Navy Wife; July 18th, 2018 at 10:28 AM.

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  14. #8
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Make your will & get your documents in order! Yes, it can happen to you.

    Thank you Joy for posting,
    I have always had a will and Powers of Attorney, and modify when life situations change. When DH and I moved in together, we made wills and POA. The issue had come up when he was hospitalized one New Year's Day before we lived together and all his info at the hospital still listed his now ex-wife. He quickly changed that and I reminded him to keep all info to date. This is a matter that we want to get done for my oldest son and his youngest. Both are single and we know that neither have papers in place. This is so critical.

    When I first met DH's parents at Christmastime in 2010, and his mom was in hospital, I asked about powers of attorney and wills. The home also required them. Turns out they never made any. We couldn't find a lawyer at that time, so I know that here as worst case scenario you can use a kit and fill in the blanks, provided it is witnessed by someone not named in the will/power.

    So we found kits for Kansas, filled in the forms and as luck would have it, there was a legal person who signed/notarized the documents before we flew home on Jan 1st. Since DH is here, he told his parent to name his niece (raised by the parents) as Power for Care and Finances. We gave her the original and told her to keep safe in her home, with a copy of the will. We have original will and copies of POA. Six month later, we had his mom's will and that was ok. Now we need the original Powers of care, and she can't find them. We sent a copy of our copy so she could enact as DH's dad has dementia. Unfortunately, she is also not very knowledgeable with legal matters and doesn't understand what to do. We have had many conference calls, and luckily her son is better educated and has been a great help. This is the reason I am going down to KS alone, to make certain things get started with regard to getting the house in order to sell, and dispose of his possessions. The proceeds to go towards his care. I have always been interested in law, studied in that field (not a lawyer) and always seemed to fall into jobs which required a strong background of the laws and retired from the Dept of Justice. My challenge is that I'm not familiar with Kansas laws, but interestingly, I have been able to research what I need to know.

    When my dad was in hospital, he had signed a DNR at the time, which really had no legal standing at that time. When he was in ICU and needed emerg procedure to survive, they would save him. It seemed the document was on file, but if you are in ICU, they will save you. I can remember having a conversation with him and he said - well if happens again, he said give it another try. I also remeber finding out at the hospital that he had named me as Power of Care and Finances. He never told me that. He joked and said my mom would pull the plug sooner, even if it was for the TV. Haha. So when he died, I made sure that my mom re-did her papers as she had me and my brother making joint decisions. My hands would be tied legally. That was a bad idea as my brother has had no contact with family or my mom in 18 years.

    DH will be re-doing our documents shortly, as we now have grandchildren and want to provide for them. and we will make sure all the kids documents are in place. DH does not want his ex trying to control any monies that his youngest son might receive from him.

    Enjoy life and do what makes you happy. Everything else will follow.

    Every day I try to do one thing that challenges my comfort zone.

  15. #9
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Make your will & get your documents in order! Yes, it can happen to you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Navy Wife View Post
    I so agree! After my Mom's death, my Dad remarried. We had to threaten him to get him to redo his will and other paper work. Even then, he still had CDs in my Mom's name when he died. It was even worse that my Mom was Mary Alice and my stepmom Mary Ann. Fortunately, she was not after his money, just his companionship. I made sure she lived the remainder of her life in comfort as he wished.
    So glad things turned out ok with your dad's estate. Often in the case of a later-in-life remarriage, here they could have signed a pre-nuptial, even years after. It is legal. In my province Ontario, when you get married, you should redo your will, unless you both made your will when you moved in together. When you marry, your previous will is no longer valid. You could go to court to have it validated, but it costs in time, money and frustration.

    Interesting, when you separate or divorce, if you don't make a new will, your previous will remains valid.

    Enjoy life and do what makes you happy. Everything else will follow.

    Every day I try to do one thing that challenges my comfort zone.

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  17. #10
    Block Queen

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    Default Re: Make your will & get your documents in order! Yes, it can happen to you.

    This is a regular question I ask my clients. I'm a financial planner and it's part of what we do in the process. I'm amazed at the number of people that put this off until it's too late.
    Gaye

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