Out of respect for basilisk's thread about his loss, I moved my off
topic thoughts to a new thread.
I think it is pertinent information for most of us middle aged guys to
be thinking of, so here is my response to LDosser's question. I would
highly advise anyone that will be stuck with sorting out the legal
details of their parents or loved ones (or maybe not so loved....) to
have a talk with them to make sure these documents are in place.
My parents "fibbed" to me about having all of this done, and only had
in their hands exactly what I had completed for them before. Doing
all of this with old, tired and sick people makes this task a thousand
times harder (and much more expensive) than it needs to be.
They still have to sign all the documents, and affidavits, so the big
difference is that they have to understand all the details and
ramifications of their affairs between illnesses, "down days",
doctor's appts., physical and mental therapy, etc. All of it has to
be done with brains that have been affected by cancer and chemo,
strokes, diabetes, and the onset of dementia.
And now they have to pay to have the documents transported to them by
the attorney for reviews ($$$) and witnessed by a non family member.
I think the only ones sicker of this whole process than me is them.
Some of these documents go out of usefulness since their is new,
preferred legal language. Some need to be replaced, some docs need to
be updated. << All of the documents that are generated need to be
approved by the facilities they frequent.>> A state approved,
federally approved, or a form from Quickbooks Will Maker probably
won't do it.
For example: The hospital that my folks like has a lot of seniors, so
in turn have a lot of senior care doctors. BUT, having been sued by
their patients enough times, they have their very own set of medical
directives. These must be signed and witnessed before every procedure
(in addition to the normal hospital disclaimers), and will be on file
for 6 months. After that, new docs must be signed, as the hospital
told me they aren't in the document archiving business. Additionally,
their legal staffs update the forms on a routine basis so they want
THEIR newest forms on file along with the state promulgated forms.
Another example is their nursing facility. They are part of a larger
state sized chain, and they have their own documents that allow or
disallow treatment. They DO NOT want either of them to die there on
premises for any reason; with that in mind they have their own forms
that are a rider to ours as long as they are on the premises. They
cannot "pull the plug" or order any advanced medical treatment, but if
either of my folks are ill they can call for transport and move them
to a hospital immediately. And without specifying the hospital they
want, they take a person to the one they want, even if they have never
treated them and have no records there. They get them out as fast as
they can to reduce liability.
They have now have the following either executed or in process, and I
would certainly recommend these to everyone that is "of age", whatever
that might be, or to have these docs done on behalf of yourself:
- Do not resuscitate orders
- Medical directives to comply with state and local laws to allow for
their care and assignment of ability to enact the DNR if they become
- Medical Power of Attorney directives that allow commitment to
permanent procedures on a treatment as well as monetary payment level
- Legal Power of Attorney assignment for certain aspects of their
- Durable Power of Attorney for everything else
- All monetary accounts now have a sibling on as cosigners for access
- A new/updated will (last one was 5 years old) that spells out their
- Most importantly (at least from my standpoint) is a solid, written
budget with a financial plan
Medicaid used to have a 3 year "lookback" to see about your
eligibility for their services. It is now a whopping FIVE years, and
if you don't plan well, it will bite you hard. My parents should have
started planning years ago, but didn't. Now they live in fear that if
they really need heavy medical care, it may not be available.
Essentially, we must time the life of their assets to make sure they
can continue to get care, but not too much or they won't be Medicaid
Now try to plan the medical future of a 84 year old man and woman.
Make it more interesting by throwing in years of poor health.
So my folks are now starting their financial planning (something other
than "saving money") now at the ages of 84 for him and 80 for her.
My Dad is now stuck trying to understand all the complicated
information when he would rather be watching Matlock reruns. Worse,
he now has to depend on others to make sure he gets what he wants, and
he can't believe they charge for it. And he can't accept the fact
that if the attorney changes a document or adds a codicil, there are
additional charges incurred.
All in all, pretty miserable for everyone involved.
So again... if I could encourage any of you to get this done now for
YOU and YOURS, I certainly will.
I have already seen this in my future. We're lucky that we have a
family friend who is a lawyer, and actually one of the decent ones.
We drafted up all the documents about 8 years ago when both my mom and
dad were on the ball enough to know what it was we were trying to do
for them. They gave me 100% power of attorney on all matters with
their wishes outlined in terms of DNR etc.
We had a bit of a party afterwards as they were obviously relieved of
any grief they so badly wanted to avoid for us after they were gone.
My sister getting hurt didn't change a thing.
They're both 88. My mom is a crumpled little thing at 98 pounds, the
osteoporosis has eaten a lot of her away. She once was a 5' 10" Dutch
woman. But her mind is tough as nails. My dad, not so much. Physically
healthy as a bear, his mind has mostly wandered off without him. He
asked me my name. I told him it was Rob. He said: "Heyyy...I have a
son named Rob."
He's happy, well fed, a funnier than ever. He pretends to pull-start
his walker, like a lawn mower and does this every morning. Then walks
to the nurses station and want to pay his hotel bill and reserve a
limo to the airport. Everybody loves him there.
We know _that_ day is coming.
I will never be ready for that.
Thanks Robert for the good advice. I know it is good advice, I hope
some others will pay attention to it.
notice posted on her refrigerator. When I first saw it I was rather
taken aback (we didn't live in the area and my brother took care of
her financial and medical details). It didn't take too long for me to
get over the thought, though. She died at 95 in December of '08.
Turns out that since she died in my brother's home (he'd pulled her
out of the senior home nine months before) the DNR solved all sorts of
other possible legal problems, as well as the obvious.
When my father died, 45ish years ago, there were all sorts of issues,
including my own mother needing to "adopt" me. Her bank accounts were
frozen as well as any saftey deposig boxes. It was a mess for a
while, and she had no (access to) money in the interim. My brother
made sure that all of these details were taken care of (no ugly
probate, no legal hassles of any kind, nothing). For that, I am
grateful for both of them.
On Mon, 18 Jan 2010 14:12:09 -0600, the infamous "basilisk"
Absolutely. After seeing how funds can get tied up in probate for
years, sucking up 20%
Not too many people want to face the fact that they're getting older,
getting more frail, and that they may soon be sick or senile. Look at
the flap about the pamphlet _Your Life, Your Choices_ which O wanted
to give to seniors. It was nicknamed the Death Panel book by critics.
I was going to give you a link for it but it is now offline. <sigh>
I found my copy and will email it to anyone wishing a copy. 378KB, 53
pages. I feel that it's a neutral, informative document on a subject
which should be considered IN ADVANCE of any family member having
problems, if at all possible.
Read it yourself, and give it to your folks to read. Then talk,
relating to them some horror stories about NOT having made wills or
durable healthcare directives, then see about getting them 'em into a
Living Will (this term has now been taken over by healthcare folks to
mean advanced healthcare directives, but I mean it in the originas
sense.) This keeps their hard earned cash out of the government's
hands, too, if they care. Most folks want their legacy to go to their
children, not some spendthrift govvy arsebite. I've heard recently of
people whose bank accounts have been taken over by the gov't when the
elderly family member got sick, but this is unsubstantiated.
The greatest fine art of the future will be the making
of a comfortable living from a small piece of land.
What do you think, Larry? You didn't suddenly become shy, did you
I do not think that prolonging breathing is necessarily a good thing, au
contraire. I think living is worth while, if it is really living.
OTOH, this is a rather personal thing, so if you are willing to pay, do
as you wish. Just make sure the person is in favor of what is going to
happen to him or her.
I'm only shy in person. My keyboard liberates me, though.
That's precisely why the talk should be had and papers signed stating
the person's exact wishes. Note that they're amendable at any time
(second-thining your choices in the hospital with tubes in ya) by the
person who signed them. What more could a person ask for? OK,
EXcluding eternal life. ;)
Every day above ground is a Good Day(tm).
It is never too early to leave a will, living will, DNR desires, for you
yourself. Once you get (semi)incapacitated it will be much more
difficult. What would you do if had a car accident or your planned
elective surgery goes wrong, and you become a vegetable?
Do not put off until tomorrow what you can do today.
And make your living will/DNR instructions part of your medical record!!
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