PSA | Document your final care because there’s no predicting when worst cases scenarios strike.

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2022 has not been my family’s year. My long-suffering mother passed from Covid in April. Her sister was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in June and passed away today.

My mom didn’t have a will. While different members of the family had anecdotal and sometimes competing versions of my mother’s final wishes, at the end of the day, nothing was in writing. So final decisions were left to my father, even if they were at odds with what I knew she had previously talked about. 

And then my aunt fell unexpectedly ill. Her rapid deterioration from snarky, independent retiree — logging book club sessions and church outings — to incoherent hospice patient in a matter of weeks is nothing short of mind boggling. This was not the person that was driving all over NJ helping to plan my mom’s funeral. Nor the one who talked with my mom during her hours long dialysis sessions before her death. Her fade happened in a flash.

Family scrambled to get a care plan into place. They secured the just-in-case medical proxy paperwork before her first surgery, and blessedly uncovered her notarized, albeit dated, Power of Attorney while sorting through her long term care paperwork. Trusted folks had the authority to make decisions on her behalf to keep her comfortable and her affairs in order come what may.

It’s been an eye-opening year on worst case scenario preparedness in my family. One couple finally got backup guardianship coverage in place for their grade schooler — just in case. I’ve got a will drafted, with a financial carve out for my dog’s designated backup caretaker, that I need to get notarized this week. An Advance Health Care Directive is next on my list.

Let my family’s year of major medical events be a reminder to get your ducks in a row, no matter how young or seasoned you are.

While complicated estates may require a lawyer, sites like RocketLawyer and Trust & Will make it easy to knock out draft wills and power of attorney documents in an afternoon. 

Because you shouldn’t leave your final medical care or your family’s legacy to chance.

About the author

Andrea Zak
By Andrea Zak

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