Are you and your family prepared for End of Life?
Are you or your family prepared for the end of life experience? This is a subject that many shy away from even attempting to discuss, yet in reality we all pass on one day for one reason or another. We always hope that we've accomplished everything we want to do, complete those bucket list items, tell everyone in our family or friends we love them etc., have our affairs in order, just in case, if you have that opportunity and have done all this, you are so fortunate.
There are countless people today who are "not prepared for death". Sorry I had to say the word. But it's reality. Death can happen to anyone - Suddenly due to accident or incident, terminal health diagnoses and natural causes unknown that are "sudden". If you can prepare, you and family are fortunate, and therefore we share this post. It's never too late if you plan ahead! Personally, I've been near death too many times. I am a lucky person to be here today, writing this article to help others plan, prepare and know that IF that day came, all is well and loved ones are taken care of. I am a health care advocate for family and individuals, assisting to guide along the way and assist in those emergent cases. My affairs are in order and have been since I was 21 years of age, because I have assets and special requests that if I did not have the chance to share, no one would follow through to assure everything was the way "I want it".
Below I will share a preparation checklist of items to "always" have in order and update as your life changes:
1) Have an Advanced Directive or Living Will in place - this is specific if you do not want to be kept alive artificially if terminal, OR you do want to be kept alive if terminal. This identifies all your wishes related to your medical care.
2) Make sure you have a Health Care Power of Attorney or called a Health Care Surrogate form - this will identify WHO you want to manage decisions for your health and well being if you are not able to. Essentially your life is in this person's hands, so be careful who you choose.
3) Do you have a legal DNR ( Do not Resusitate) order? DNI (Do not Intubate) order? DNH ( Do not Hospitalize) order? If/when applicable.
4) Do you have your Estate Planning in order? If you have a large amount of assets that you do not wish to impose probate court or taxes on to your beneficiaries, you NEED A TRUST! See a good trust attorney immediately. Once you do it and there are no changes, it's a one time cost that will save your family members a lot of money later on. This will save your estate from being taxed and almost all could be lost if not clearly defined and included by your wishes. This I recommend for any large family estate. A trust is considered a "living" being with all assets incorporated into it. The trust lives on after you pass. All wishes included and assets identified, live within the trust - this includes your Last will and testament (which includes all your wishes and guardianship requests for children or animals), mortgage/home, properties, tangible assets included, bank accounts, 401 k, investments, retirement, Life Insurance, anything that is an asset in addition to identifying the Executor of the Trust/Will, who will this trustworthy person be?
5) Even if you are single, married, etc, with minimal assets it is always important to have a Last Will and Testament. This can be affordable, you can even go online and create one yourself, but make sure it is notarized and witnessed when you sign and reviewed by someone who has legal experience. Your last will and testament is an important document that identifies all your wishes CLEARLY, if you have children - who will be the legal guardians of your children or animal(s)? how will assets be distributed, and who will be the beneficiary or executor of your belongings, assets, estate?, how do you want to be buried or cremated and where, etc.? be specific as this is a legal document and your Last Wishes!
6) Also make sure you have a Financial Power of Attorney for your designee. In the event you are unable to handle your financial affairs, this person will have the authority to handle ALL of your finances to include - bank accounts, investments, bills, taxes etc.
For your designee or beneficiary to avoid Probate court : It is VERY IMPORTANT to go to your bank as soon as possible to identify to your bank manager this person's name, social security number, date of birth, address and phone number, to add this person onto the bank forms is imperative which stays on your account. This person does not need to even know you have selected them to have access to your financials/money. If you do not want your money to go to the state, it is recommended you do handle this important detail. The LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT ALONE IS NOT ENOUGH WHEN IT COMES TO FINANCIALS! It will go to probate regardless. This is how our system works, so preparation is recommended.
Do make sure to have additional copies of your items provided to your designee in the event of. If you have an attorney, he/she will keep an original copy on file and record it with the county. This is recommended although not necessary in some cases. Make sure to have the original in a place someone will know where to find it if you do not have an attorney, such as a safe deposit box at the bank or safe at home.
This summarizes the priority checklist of items for your daily/yearly preparations only "in the event of", it is a smart business and family decision to assure all is properly taken care after your passing. Make life easier on the loved ones left behind.
If you are in need for more information and would like to have assistance you can reach out to our collaborative partner the Association of Health Coaching and Advocates, LLC at www.AHCALLC.com for support.