Tip – Give a trusted individual authority to act on your behalf, give them instructions on what to do, and give them the information they need.
When I turned 12 years old—nearly 60 years ago—I became a Boy Scout. I learned the Scout Motto, “Be Prepared.” It made sense to me. Being prepared helped me to avoid problems and to handle challenges when they arose. As an attorney who works with seniors, my advice to them is to be prepared. As we age, being prepared can be a big help to our families. Through my
experience, I have found that there are three components to being prepared.
First, put legal documents in place that give someone you trust the authority to act for you. These documents can include a Will that names a personal representative to administer your estate; a Power of Attorney for Finances and for Healthcare that names agents that can step in and help when needed; and a document designating someone to make funeral arrangements.
Second, give that person instructions, so he or she will know what you want them to do. This can be done by having conversations with them about your financial situation, your healthcare wishes, and how to handle your estate. Even better, I like the idea of preparing written instructions that you can keep with your documents. These instructions are not legally binding, but they explain what you
would like your agents to do.
Third, give information to the people that you have named in your documents. For your personal representative, how do you want your estate handled? For finances, what are your retirement accounts, where are your insurance policies and investments and where are your bank accounts located? For healthcare, what medications are you taking, who is your doctor, and what kind of care do you want to receive?
My Dad had a stroke in his later years. He recovered but lost most of his speech, only being able to say a few words. One day he came to me and said, “Insurance.” I asked, “Do you have a life insurance policy?” “Find out,” was his reply. I checked with all the insurance agents in town and none of them had a policy with my Dad. I have often wondered if he had an insurance policy that I never found that would have paid a benefit at his death. I was my Dad’s power of attorney for finances. I
had the authority to act for him; however, I didn’t have the information I needed to take care of his affairs properly.
Being prepared for the future will bring you peace of mind and will be a gift to
View our “Senior’s Guide to a Well-Planned Future” on our website! Packer Elder Care Law – with you for life!
Tom Packer is an Elder Law Attorney serving all Southeast Idaho. As part of his law practice, Tom offers Life Care Planning to deal with the challenges created by long-term illness, disability and incapacity. If you have a question about a Senior’s legal, financial or healthcare needs, please call us.