Be Prepared: You never know when life is going to throw a curve ball! | Planning Insights

Anne Hussman |

Things in life are always changing.  There are happy times and sad times.  Of course, we all want to live in the happy times but the reality is that bad things happen.  Emotionally we may never be prepared for sickness or the death of a loved one, but we can ease the burden with a little advanced planning. 




Here are two real life stories:

Situation #1:

When 71-year-old Patti is diagnosed with lung cancer and given one, possibly two, years to live, her only son, Michael, tries to help her put her affairs in order.  As with the many prior attempts, Patti continued to put off taking care of business.  She died less than two months after being diagnosed.  No power of attorney.  No will.  No organization or logic to any of their important paperwork.  Patti’s husband, George, also in poor health, did not know any of the financial information or where any documents were kept.  The search began for bank account information, insurance policies, etc.  Doctor and medical information for George were unknown as well.  Patti was his primary caretaker and also did not leave that information with Michael.  Michael and his family were overwhelmed with all that needed to be done.  Since her death in September, George signed a will and power of attorney.  The search continues for all the insurance information, accounts and income sources.  

Situation #2:
Meet Dorothy, a 73 year old woman, enjoying her retirement.  She recently moved into a new condominium, excited to finally have a dog, something she has wanted for a long time.  Settled into her new place, she gets not one, but two dogs!  In less than a year, Dorothy is also diagnosed with cancer.  She has declined rapidly.  Just as Michael was put in a position of having to take care of his mother and her affairs after her death, Dorothy’s daughter, Mary, is now in the same position.  This is where the similarities end.  Dorothy has her affairs in order.  She has been a good saver and a wise investor.  Her resources and planning provide for the care she needs.  The LTC insurance she purchased several years ago paid for renovations to her condo to help her stay at home as long possible.  The power of attorney and will are in place.  Mary does not need to worry about Dorothy’s finances during their final days together.

The time planning for “one day” was well spent.  It is our sincerest hope that you do not fall into the first situation.  Parents, get your affairs in order.  It is one of the best gifts you can give to your children.  Children, talk to your parents before it is too late.  The fact is that none of us are getting out alive.  It is better to be prepared than to be in denial.  Please contact us today.  We can provide you with resources to help ease the burden of this important planning time.