Time For A Hard Talk

TO ALL MY 40 SOMETHING PEEPS: If you haven’t already, it is time to sit down with your parents and have a hard talk. While it is uncomfortable to approach the topic, you need to know what plans they have made for their future care and eventual passing. Many of you know that my father had a tragic accident last fall, suffering brain trauma, and is incapable of managing even his most basic needs. Prior to his fall I asked him casually about insurance & other things that came to mind and he vaguely responded, and that was it. He was only 63 when it happened and had not really planned for everything, making it a quagmire of epic proportions to even have basic discussions in his behalf. Nobody likes to face their own incapacitation or demise, but they don’t get to do this on their own, someone is left tending to their business, and it could be you. If your parents were in a car accident tomorrow, is your family prepared to deal with their affairs? Do you know where their bank accounts are? Do you know what insurance they have? Does someone have power of attorney to talk to their bank, dispose of their assets if needed or make medical decisions? Do you know how they want their remains to be handled? Cremation? Burial? Where? Do you know their medical history as well as your families so that you can communicate to a Dr. in an emergency room? Do they have a safety deposit box? Where are their key documents kept? (Birth/marriage/death certificates, insurance policies, bank statements, wills, etc.) Do they have an advance directive so that you can legally substantiate how for to go with care for them? Do they have a will? Do they have the insurance they need for their care and burial and the disposition of their estate? Do you know who they want to take care of their business? The answers to these questions must be settled for people of all economic situations. A will can be written on a legal pad. Powers of attorney can be granted from forms downloaded from the internet. (Here is one example: http://www.caringinfo.org/files/public/ad/Texas.pdf. ) Critical documents can be brought together into one place and organized even in a shoe box. Don’t think that you have time. On September 25th last year my dad went from being a reasonably normal human being to brain damaged in a second. All it takes is a car that doesn’t stop in an intersection, a trip and fall, a diagnosis of cancer, etc and your life changes in an instant. We are not in control of the environments we move through, but we can be in control of how things go after a tragedy. For yourself, for your family, have the hard talk. Get everything out and known because we never know where life will take us. Yesterday is a memory, tomorrow is but a promise, today is the only thing that is real, and it is fleeting.