Sunday, January 12, 2014

Get Your Affairs In Order

I recently heard a story from a couple in their 80's that struck me as interesting.  Though in relatively good health, they each have their maladies and one has started to develop some more serious health issues.  They recounted that in a recent visit to their primary care physician, in addition to the medical exam, the physician initiated a conversation with them about end-of-life issues.  "You are nearer to the end than to the beginning", said the physician.  "Do you have all of your affairs in order, including estate planning, burial wishes and arrangements and the like?"  I was taken somewhat aback, but quite pleased,  by this story, as it had not occurred to me that this was advice that would come from a physician.  I was happy to hear that the physician was advising the couple on how to prepare for their end not only in a medical context but in an overall life context.  I commend this physician on doing so and hope this is a common practice in geriatric medicine.

As I have often said, particularly to elderly clients, putting your affairs in order, having a complete estate plan, and sharing your wishes for end-of-life care with your loved ones are all immense gifts you can give to them.   As children and grandchildren must mourn the loss and adjust to life without their loved one, it is an additional burden to have to go on a treasure hunt to gather information about the estate of the deceased and deal with a disorganized probate process to transfer assets.  It is also imperative for parents of minor children to establish guardianships and a method of managing assets for the benefit of the children while they are young.  For this reason, I highly recommend that everyone, regardless of age, take the time and effort to establish an estate plan that will allow for the orderly administration of an estate in the event of a loss.   Life is precious but fleeting, and one never knows when it might be taken, whether expected or otherwise.  I specialize in compassionate,  comprehensive and competent assistance with these matters.  Make it your new year's resolution to call me and take care of this work in 2014.