No one wakes up in the morning with a deliberate plan to fail, but I do believe many of us plan for failure by simply procrastinating because while we all know we will die it all seems so far off. Unfortunately, too often the unexpected arises, and families are left scrambling to figure out what to do for those they love. When my mother’s health became such that my father had to place her in long-term care I remember telling him how much the planning to care for her might cost. He told then he would gladly pay more than that for the problem to just go away.
My parents had basic estate planning in place, but what they did not have was a plan for life and a plan for death. What is a plan for life? Well, it involves basic estate planning such as a will and powers of attorney, but it also includes contingency planning for the unexpected. For example, what is the plan if one spouse needs long-term care and the other does not? What happens if both require it? What happens if one spouse is in long-term care and the stay at home spouse dies. What happens if in a situation such as the ones I’ve named the families are blended; who makes what decisions for whom?
A plan for death is easier, but often neglected. We found out at my mother’s death that we did not have the first idea how to have my mom interred in the local VA cemetery, and we had to wade through a lot of misinformation until we got the right information.
What to do then? Plan for the unexpected. Consult with the necessary professionals today so that the unexpected does not catch you unawares. The decisions you make today will affect your family tomorrow; help them to enact your wishes by giving them the tools they need to implement your plans for both life and death. The problems will not just go away.
Editor’s Note: This article was submitted by William H. Moller, Attorney and Counselor at Law, The Moller Law Group, LLC. He may be reached at 719-694-1284, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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