Friday, August 29, 2008

DO IT NOW.

That is the main thing I can say right now. I won't be blogging much for a little while as I'm in the midst of dealing with my father's latest and most serious health crisis. What I most want to share from the experience is this:

  • If you don't have a will or a health proxy, you must make one: DO IT NOW.
  • If you aren't sure if an aging parent has made a will, you must ask: DO IT NOW.
  • If you don't have a straightforward list written down of all your bank accounts, retirement accounts, insurance policies, prescription info, mortgages, loans, regular bills, etc., please remember how hard it will be for your family to look after your needs without this information if you are even temporarily incapacitated: DO IT NOW.
  • If you don't know all of the above information about an aging parent, you must ask: DO IT NOW.

When someone is seriously ill, the last thing you want to have to worry about is financial stuff. You should get it all organized well before there is a health problem, so it doesn't have to be addressed at a time when everyone is already under pressure. Have the conversation with your aging parent years or decades before they are in a hospital bed with a blood pressure cuff on and a monitor hanging above them that tells you the truth about how they are feeling, even if they seem to be taking it okay.

Please, please, please, think about all these things, but more importantly DO THEM NOW.

26 comments:

Orange said...

Hey there Madame X,

I wish best to your father, hope he feels better and recovers quickly.

~Orange

Anya said...

Same here, Madame X--we're all sending good thoughts your way and your father's way.

frugal zeitgeist said...

Very best wishes during this sad and stressful time.

lee said...

Hope you father feels better. Thinking of you and your family.

mapgirl said...

OMG. I hope your dad is alright.

My mantra is "The time to prepare for a crisis is when there is no crisis."

Best of luck to you and your family. My thoughts are with you.

Tired of being broke said...

My thoughts are with you and your family. Hope you dad pulls through ok.

DO IT NOW - is right.

Wayne said...

Here's hoping your dad gets well.

I went through the process recently with my parents and it was a lot of work. They had accounts in different places and no legal documents. Consolidated all of their accounts to one and had him create a legal will, healthcare proxy, power of attorney, and trust. They now see the benefit of it and are much better than before.

As for my home, I create a folder of all the finance (yr end statements),insurance and legal docs for my wife in case anything happens to me. She knows where it is and what it contains. Something else to consider for others if one does all of the finance.

WW

Escape Brooklyn said...

Thanks for the important reminder and wishing you and your family well.

Uncommonadvice said...

Sending you our prayers

Anonymous said...

I had this problem with both my (now deceased) parents and it made me an ardent campaigner for health care proxies, living wills, and wills. Hey, even you single folk need to do this!

Warm thought to you and yours.

Bitty said...

I'll be thinking of you, Madame X and dad. I hope he recovers soon, and fully.

And you're so right. I need to stop talking about it and do it.

ash said...

My prayers are with you, I hope your dad recovers soon.

T'Pol said...

Hi Madame X,

Hope your father will feel better soon. I can imagine what you are going thru. best wishes from the other end of the ocean...

I keep a list of my medication, account numbers, amount of money in each account and the insurance papers in my safe at home. However, my sister who is usually a very sharp person keeps forgetting the combination to my safe! I considered giving her a key but her track record of keeping important stuff is so bad, I can't dare. I guess they will have to blow up the safe in case something happens....

Sicilian said...

Praying for your father's health. . . . . you are very right about do it now. . . my father has everything in a safe deposit box. . . . now if we could convince my him to take the house, the money, the assets out of his name. . . well long term care is a whole issue in and of itself.
Ciao

sfordinarygirl said...

im praying for your father and a speedy recovery.

Hazzard said...

I'm sorry to hear about your dad. I hope things are getting better. I have been talking to my mom a lot about these things lately. I'll be watching to see an update on your dad. Be strong!!
Hazzard

Doctor S said...

good luck with everything and hope it all works out well.

Savings Toolbox said...

Best wishes for you and your family. Sometimes someone else's crisis is another person's blessing. The points you have made in this post are undeniably valuable for all people, old or not. Keeping your finances in order and keeping those close to you in the know can make a huge difference during the stress of the situation.

Take Care, Madame X -

jill said...

Madame X,

First- best wishes to you and your family. It's unfortunate but it is times like these that remind us how important it is to be prepared for the unforeseen.

Most people dread to think about somber subjects like illness and death. However if you choose to be prepared for the unforeseen it can help your family through the tough times that come along with those somber subjects.
Madame X- I agree with you DO IT NOW!

Here are some considerations that are worth reviewing in preparation for the unforeseen.
• Insurance- one of the most important things you can do to protect your family is have adequate insurance (life insurance- in case of death, disability insurance- in case of injury, long term care insurance- in case of long term illness)
• Create a will- depending on the complexity of your financial situation, you can either seek professional advice or do it yourself. There are a number of websites that will help you create a simple will.
• Gather important documents in one central location and share that location with a trusted family member. Create a list of all of your accounts and where they are held. Keep a copy of your insurance policies and will in that same location.
By simply addressing the above people will be in a better position to deal with the unforeseen.

Madame X- thank you for reminding us to DO IT NOW!

Jill said...

Madame X,

First- best wishes to you and your family. It's unfortunate but it is times like these that remind us how important it is to be prepared for the unforeseen.

Most people dread to think about somber subjects like illness and death. However if you choose to be prepared for the unforeseen it can help your family through the tough times that come along with those somber subjects.
Madame X- I agree with you DO IT NOW!

Here are some considerations that are worth reviewing in preparation for the unforeseen.
• Insurance- one of the most important things you can do to protect your family is have adequate insurance (life insurance- in case of death, disability insurance- in case of injury, long term care insurance- in case of long term illness)
• Create a will- depending on the complexity of your financial situation, you can either seek professional advice or do it yourself. There are a number of websites that will help you create a simple will.
• Gather important documents in one central location and share that location with a trusted family member. Create a list of all of your accounts and where they are held. Keep a copy of your insurance policies and will in that same location.

By simply addressing the above people will be in a better position to deal with the unforeseen.

Madame X- thank you for reminding us to DO IT NOW!

Abby said...

I'm sorry to hear about your father's health problems. Those are always so stressful. Be sure that if you have any questions, you talk to the financial advisors at the hospital. They are very helpful. But you probably already knew that, since it sounds like this is an ongoing problem.

The advice "do it now" is great, though. I am always horrified how few people have plans. I was a landlord for awhile and so when my parents divorced, I made up a will explaining where the house should go and where any profits from a house sale would go. Then had it notarized, since I knew a notary public.

Anyone who owns a house should really have a will. You don't want your survivors to have to try to make mortgage payments while everything goes through probate. Sure, if you're married, it will probably go to your spouse; but what if both of you are in an accident?

It's grim stuff so we put it off.

Also, I really urge everyone to have a living will. I made my wishes known to my husband and, before he was in the picture, to my mom. But it's best to have everything in writing.

I should mention I'm only 30 years old. Seriously, folks, you shouldn't wait. I know from personal experience that huge, life-altering (and life-threatening) illnesses can swoop down out of the clear blue sky.

Madame X, take care and I'll keep you and your father in my thoughts.

modena604 said...

i hope your dad is okay and will make a speedy recovery.

Anonymous said...

wishing the best for you and your family

hairi said...

just hoping ur dad will be ok.
Adios,
ionic air freshner

Mariena said...

Madame, last time I went home I had that talk with my parents (both in their 50's now). I also talked about what to do if they suffered a serious illness that required them to be hospitalized for a long time, or if they ever went into a coma or persistent vegetative state. It was the hardest thing ever, but now my sister and I know, should something like this happens. It was a post similar to yours that initiated this, and also my fears that I wouldn't know enough about finances to properly take care of them, should my parents die. My dad takes care of his documents, thankfully ... mainly because after his parents divorced and my grandfather remarried my grandparents never took the time to divide assets ... then they both died 4 months apart, and their money had to be divided between my dad and my dad's siblings from the 1st and 2nd marriage, though none of the properties they had was a product of the second marriage. The time to take care of all financial and insurance things is now. So very true.

Hope your dad feels well soon. Warm and healthy wishes to you and yours.

Sistah Ant said...

I hope your dad will be in good health in the blink of an eye.

I've been good about bugging my parents for this info, but I've been unable to get them to write anything down or have a designated place for important papers. I don't know what else to do.

I am going to get a safe deposit box for such things. I've been bad about a will. But you're right. I need to do it now. And while I'm at it, I need to get some disability insurance.