Estate planning documents are often forgotten until something triggers a need. My first “need” came in the year 2000.
My husband and I were planning a trip for our fifth anniversary. Our two young boys would be spending the week with their Grandma. We couldn’t go away without knowing that a plan was in place for our kids should the “unthinkable” happen. So we created our first estate plan.
Fast-forward fifteen years – our oldest son is in college and our mothers are both widowed and facing their own health concerns. Hello “squeeze” generation.
Now, in addition to our own plan, we also needed to make sure our mothers’ plans are in order and our new-adult son is protected.
We had our son sign a healthcare power of attorney, important to us if he faced a healthcare situation and needed our help. Otherwise, by law, healthcare facilities couldn’t give us health information and we couldn’t make health decisions for him if he couldn’t. Even if just to assist with an insurance claim or billing issue.
For our mothers, we needed to confirm the appropriate documents were prepared and their location. Health care and durable powers of attorney were the most important. We now know that someone can communicate and act for them, if they can’t.
My husband and I have a will, a trust, and durable and health care powers of attorney. As I am faced with life’s changes, I’m glad we decided to give those documents another review.