If you just spent your holidays with your aging parents, you probably worried (or maybe even talked about) the set up for their final arrangements. Maybe you are already in charge of their affairs because they cannot take care of certain things by themselves anymore…
If you are one of the few lucky ones to know what is going on with your parents’ estate planning, and where their documents are located, I would like to congratulate your parents! Most of the people I have spoken to were not that fortunate when something happened with their loved one. This is a topic that we don’t usually talk about. However it is very necessary, since death is the only certainty we have in life. And whether we talk about it or not, someone still has to deal with it - either us while we are still of sound mind and body, or a loved one, when we are not around anymore.
So, let me ask you: when was the last time you talked to your family about your estate or your wishes (should you not be able to express them)? And if you told them what you wanted in case you become incapacitated, did you put that in writing? And, most importantly, do they know where the paperwork is (if you have it)?
Most Americans don’t have their wishes written down. And, unfortunately for the families left behind, of those who have it in writing, many don’t tell their family where the paper are.
If you are a grown child of an aging parent who mentioned a long time ago that they want to be cremated, or that they don’t want to be kept on life support… maybe you can ask them if they still feel that way now. And maybe the next time you see them, you ask them to put it in writing. Also, make sure to ask where the papers are located.
When adult children move out, the parents move things around the house, and some of the things that get moved, are the important papers. Once you move out, you may not know where your parents keep their paperwork. It is always a good idea to check with your parents where their papers are now located.
If you are participating in the gratitude challenge from earlier this month, maybe something to be grateful for is the fact that you are still capable to take care of all your important documents and don’t have to leave your family to deal with everything in their time of grief. And then get it taken care of NOW.