Prepping and the End of Our Time

Today’s non-fiction writing contest entry, was written by Lake Lili

None of us really ever want to believe that our lives will end.  We prep so that we have covered our bases for our survival and that of our love ones.  Most of us hope that we have put things right with our families and right with Our Heavenly Father before our time comes.  Sometimes it is not possible to do, and sometimes we are forced to rely on the decision making of others, at a time when we most want control of those decisions.

As you age, who do you want making your decisions for you?  Think about it hard.  Sit down with a pad and pen and do some planning.  Do you have your will put together.  Who is inheriting all your preps?  Do you want to live on a respirator?  Have surgery for cancer at the age of 95?  Do you have one child who will let you go and another who wants you to live through every heroic measure?  Time to think it through…  Time to do some communicating…

Look at this as another form of prepping.

  1.  Make an appointment with your doctor and get a base line on your health.  Make sure that your doctor knows your family history and that you follow-up on all the tests the doctor wants done.  Then stop fooling yourself and accept the hand you are dealt.
  2. Work with your doctor to make yourself as healthy as possible and start doing the things that you know you need to be doing anyways – eat right, quit smoking, lower your alcohol consumption, and exercise regularly – and no fooling yourself into thinking that walking the dog down to the end of the block and back is exercise.  It’s not.  It doesn’t count.

So when you have got all of those basics under control the next conversation you need to have with your doctor is about the laws in your province or state regarding medical powers of attorney and living wills.  In Newfoundland where I live you need to have an Advance Health Care Directive (AHCD) written that names your Substitute Decision Maker (SDM), and a back-up.

In it you need to address issues like blood transfusions, organ donations, surgical interventions, long term care options and Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders.  DNRs however do require a separately completed form, which you can get from your doctor.  The AHCD will not apply in the event of an emergency (car accident) or if you are involuntarily committed for psychiatric care.

If your SDM declines the role at the time, then the Province will appoint your doctor as your SDM.  So, all the more reason for you to have a good relationship with your doctor and for him to know what you want.  In Newfoundland, Living Wills & Powers of Attorney do not apply to medical issues.  Newfoundland will recognize the legality of the paperwork completed in other Provinces if you are visiting, but if you live here for longer than 6-months then you need to get the proper paperwork completed.

In Ontario, you need to have a Power of Attorney for Personal Care (POAPC) that covers your personal decisions, such as housing and health care.   However you will require a living will to communicate your wishes should you become sick and unable to communicate your wishes.

Most often people write a living will saying that they do not want to be kept alive by artificial means should they have no hope of recovery. Technically this makes the living will an “advance directive”.  Even with an advance directive, Ontario still requires the completion of a DNR form.  When the Power of Attorney and an advance directive living will are combined it is called a Proxy Directive.  All of which tells you that when it comes to healthcare and possible end of life scenarios, governments will make it as complicated as possible so as to ensure that they cannot be held liable by your heirs.

 

In Tennessee, the laws allow for advance directives for health care decision making.  The directives can be called the “Living Will” or “Advance Care Plan” and the “Medical Power of Attorney” or “Appointment of Health Care Agent”.  The forms that need to be completed are here: https://health.state.tn.us/AdvanceDirectives/

We are a transient society and laws seem to change and evolve quickly in this area, so check your paperwork and ensure that it still meets your provincial or state laws. They are all different too.  So if you live in Tennessee but spend large amounts of time in Florida or Arizona, then you need to make sure the correct forms are completed for those locations too.

You may also need to check and ensure that the medical coverage you are denying in your AHCD will not invalidate your health care coverage.  It may be in writing somewhere in the fine print but talk to your medical insurer and get it in writing.

Once all of that is done sit down with the family member you want to designate your substitute decision maker.  If they agree make sure that they understand your reasonings and that your request will not conflict with their personal or religious beliefs.  Have them sign-off on all the paperwork, so that it is understood that you have reviewed these directives with them and that they are understood.

Now it’s time to go talk to the rest of the family.  Some will be offended but most will understand and be relieved that they will not be required to make end of life decisions.  But now is the time to find out if someone is going to make a fuss about your directives and get it ironed out.

So you have been to the doctor, you are working to get healthy, you’ve talked to all the family, and you have all your paperwork completed.  There are a couple of things you now need to do with that paperwork.

  1. File a copy with your lawyers so they have it with your will (and get one of those if you don’t have it.  After all you have worked so hard on your preps, make sure they will go to a good home)
  2. Give your SDMa copy for their records.
  3. Make sure you talk with your family and friends so that they know who you have designated as your SDM.  Also tell them about your medical decisions – again argue it out now so that are not fighting you SDM.
  4. Give a copy to your doctor so that it is in your medical file.
  5. Contact your health insurer and give them a copy.
  6. If you have a file at a local hospital, walk into their admissions area and ask them to add a copy of the paperwork to your file.
  7. In Canada, our passports have a scan feature that can hold files.  My son’s contains his custody paperwork.  Mine contains the custody paper work and my AHCD.  The Passport office was quite obliging about adding it onto the file when I renewed my passport.

In other words, cover all your bases so that the medical decisions you make, and the person you have chosen to ensure they are implemented, are recognized and taken into account.  Do it now before you are diagnosed with something that could legally incapacitate your decision making abilities.  None of us want to end up like Casey Kasem.

Prizes for this round (ends August 11 2014) in our non fiction writing contest include…

  1. First place winner will receive –  A $150 gift certificate for Fiocchi Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner, and a Wonder Junior Deluxe grain mill courtesy of Kitchen Neads.
  2. Second place winner will receive – 15 Live Fire Original – Emergency Fire Starters courtesy of LPC Survival and a Survival Puck  courtesy of Innovation Industries.
  3. Third place winner will receive – a copy of my book ”31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness“ and “Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat” courtesy of  TheSurvivalistBlog.net and copy of “The Survival Medicine Handbook” courtesy of www.doomandbloom.net.

Well what are you waiting for – email your entries today. But please read the rules that are listed below first…

Comments

  1. Nebraska Woman says:

    My parents also paid for and arranged their funerals, so when Dad died, it was easier on all of us.
    Good article.

  2. I would like to add our experience to the mix; just something to think about.

    My grandmother lived with me until her death in April. She was 99. She was so controlling she THOUGHT she had every detail covered. We all did. What we found was;
    – She thought she had paid for her funeral. What she had done is organize and provide the funeral home with life insurance policies. In the end, the casket had been discontinued so we had to pay more for similar, cost for the vault had increased, etc. We paid about $3,9000 additional.
    -We had POD accounts. We all thought that was a no brainer. But it seems to sell and divide stocks, ALL must sign off. You might think everyone would sign but one must account for old grudges.
    -We had distributed everything but the house. Again, no brainer, it was to be given to a sibling. But in order to do this we must probate. Starting rate? Near $3,000 to probate a little house. The first lawyer would not even take our case because he wanted everything sold and him to get a percentage, not a flat rate.

    Not to be gloom and doom, but check and recheck everything. If we had it to do over again I would have signed away the house before her death.

  3. Very good article, often overlooked and seldom discussed.

    Link below offers individual states requirements for medical directives.
    http://www.caringinfo.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3289

  4. grandma bear says:

    We got our ducks in a row this last year. It was a relief to have the will in place and the medical all in place. You may want to think of having a third party be the administer of the will. In my line of work I have seen many a family torn apart by the money ectra that was left behind. A third party(instutional) has no feelings and will carry out your wishes to the letter. No one family memeber has the burden put on them. Just a thought.
    Remember we are all in this together!

    • Lake Lili says:

      The issue of executors is a challenge. Mine is my cousin and my accountant. That same cousin is the guardian for my child, not my sister. I had my sister sign paper work stating that she understood and would not contest the guardianship of my child. She couldn’t sign fast enough. She was relieved to know that she would not be responsible for him. It was kinda sad but at least I know that there won’t be a cat fight.

  5. Ah..the little gifts of gov’t run health care. Thanks for going to all that trouble, my kids all know to slip me a Mickey Finn if things get really bad. A pine box under the old oak at the retreat isn’t all that expensive. We believe in a minimalist approach to death, but I do have an insurance policy of $50,000 to cover it if they decide to get all crazy at the last minute. Also, everything we have is in multiple names or an LLC. No ownership issues that way, nothing to be taxed.

    • From experience, for anyone who has life insurance. Please Please keep all proof of premium payments in your secure area.
      Cancelled checks, money orders, bank statements any paper proof. Life insurance companies are looking at every way possible to NOT pay when someone dies. This includes any employer paid or employee paid life insurance thru your work. Keep pay stubs for proof.
      This includes insurance companies who have been business for decades ! Just keep that paper proof.

  6. I still need to go and have my pine box made .

  7. mom of three says:

    Good information, many don’t think of their death. Before my husband, had surgery 3 year’s ago we had a will drawn up. If you have children, think long and hard whom you want raising them also. Make sure you have your will where family members or lawyer, can find it and keep it updated too.

  8. Thanks for the info.

    My Mother did have 95% of her estate ready when she died. She had over a year since her diagnosis with brain cancer. She even had a lawyer all lined up to handle any issues. We missed a couple of accounts, these showed up 5 years later, and it did cost us some more money, but not that much.

    My suggestion from this would be to include in your instructions to your Executor all of the places where you may have financial resources/obligations. My Mother died with no debt, not so my Father.

  9. Excellent Article LL! Something everyone needs to look into and get in order. We took a different route to ensure that our last wishes are followed. Rather than name a friend or family member as Executor, we selected a trusted local attorney. This same attorney worked with us to produce a Marital Trust that covers everything from Medical Directives to the detailed disposition of our property and financial assets. All of this work product was paid for when it was produced. A legal Contract provides for an Executors fee to be paid to the attorney for his/her services once the estate has been settled. There is also a “succession provision” that applies just in case the specific attorney is no longer available (alive) when an executor is needed. There is some up front expense to set this up but we feel it is worth the expense.

  10. ChristineM says:

    Thank you. Good article. We will be reviewing our wills.

  11. Curley Bull says:

    Great article! A subject we all must think about and plan for, but few want to think about it. Being born is cheap, dying is expensive thanks to “lawyers” and the red tape they have wrapped everything up in. I’ve been through this with parents, wife, brother, and a child. Regardless of wills, simple things end up costing a bunch (house, vehicle, etc.). It is my hope that everyone reads and heeds this article to make it a little easier on those left behind.

    It is my hope that I’ve covered everything for my passing, but as I’m fond of saying, “the first time you think you’ve got everything covered, you have a serious weak point in your perimeter.” I even went so far as to build my own “pine box” out of cypress with a hand carved lid, but alas, it was stolen the year after Mary passed. The point; cover, check and recheck, then back up and look at it again.

    Bull

  12. Canyonman says:

    Amen amen. Get your house in order and don’t leave a huge mess of ANY kind for your loved ones to deal with. We have a “Last Wishes” letter that we update once a year and our son knows where it is. It details all of our bills, finances, etc. We’re simple folk, not much to deal with, but it’s good to have all those passwords and account numbers. Especially in the computer age.

    I’ve got a free spot waiting for me at the VA cemetery, but told my DW just to stuff me down the septic tank so I can be as one with the land that I love so much. :)

  13. My DH wants to be cremated and have his ashes sprinkled in the rose garden near my beloved dog. He knows that is the only way I would visit his site regularly.
    Joking aside, we have healthcare POA and advanced directives. We both work in health care,, we are both DNRs. I have seen very peaceful deaths, a person surrounded by their loved ones (holding hands/praying) then the folks who want everything done,, they die surrounded by strangers doing painful things to their bodies (like chest compressions)
    I know my choice

  14. A part of life we all try to avoid is death. Unfortunately being one of the sure things in life – it is better to prepare for this just like we do for any other emergency. Emergency preparation is not just about extremes like financial collapse or 8.0 earthquake. Great post. Thank you.

  15. patientmomma says:

    Have everything wrapped up in a living trust; my kids decide nothing. They get what the trust says they will get. 8 page living health will covers 99% of events. Trustee and backup trustee have been briefed. I do not trust funeral homes so don’t pay in advance but have bought the cemetery plots, beloved husband in one of them already; stone engraved, just have to add my death date on it! Money for funeral and transport to cemetery allocated in trust. So as long as IMF or TPTB don’t take all money from everyone, I’m good. Have PMs stashed to cover worst case scenario.

    • recoveringidiot says:

      Look out for the cemetery company, it cost us $1900 to bury my father in a paid for grave and add his death date to an existing stone. The cemetery had been sold twice since they paid for the plots.
      They may as well just rob the graves.
      I’m leaning toward cremation just to keep them out of my families pocket. My dead shell is useless at that point anyway.

  16. tommy2rs says:

    Our will’s are done and everything is set the way we want it. Got my funeral all planned out, worked up the playlist, recorded final messages to everyone, burned it all to dvd to be copied. Gave the instructions to the The Boss and she took one look and said forget it, if you die first I’ll do it the way I want it and if I die first you better do exactly what I tell you to do about mine.

    So much for the BBQ and strippers, no plan survives contact with the enemy….or the wife….lol.

  17. Hunker-Down says:

    Look for an estate attorney. They earn a living keeping your ‘stuff’ out of probate.

    I knew a real estate lawyer who did closings for $150. His shtick is to get involved with your heirs regarding your home so he can drag everything through probate as your executor and collect a big fat fee. In a meeting with him (the first and last one) he referred to his file cabinet of past closings he had done as a 4 million dollar vault of future probate earnings.

    Real estate lawyers don’t like estate attorneys.

  18. My father and mother had everything put in their trust. Good but they forgot to actually change the name on their bank accounts to their trusts name , had to pay to get that changed. Also their vehicles were not titled in the trust name had to pay to get that changed , in out state you can put a TOD (transfer on death ) on your car title and it then goes to who you designate with no hassle. It is all the little thing that can be a hassle but till you got thru them you just don’t know.

    • grandma bear says:

      You can also have a pourover will, that is an addition to your trust. What is does is anything not already in the trust will be put in the trust in the event of your death. It is nice since you know you will forget something!

  19. Great article. People are not always aware of what is needed to do medical and/or legal stuff and each may require completely different documents. Be sure to check your state laws. In my state I have to have a medical POA to make medical decisions for my mom and a legal POA to do anything with her bank account , ie, pay bills, etc. Even after death with these two POAs, to ditribute her estate I will have to file for Executive of the estate.

  20. Points made well here. I may add do not appoint executor of the estate and will, to a relative. Conflict of interest.

    When my mom passed away my mom made my brother exec. and he did not want to follow mom’s wishes. When I got to her apt., all the valuable stuff was taken by my sister without my knowledge, and some things my mom put my name on them for me. Her will stated I get all her dishes (antique and collectables) that were taken by my sister. Brother’s doings. He even took things from the home that were mine without asking. Keep relatives out of the executor position.

    • grandma bear says:

      My point exactly!

    • That all depends how trustworthy your relatives are.
      My younger brother was executor of my mom’s estate, and I couldn’t have been more satisfied with how he handled everything. Plus, I didn’t have to deal with family members who wanted to pillage my mom’s home. Everything was done exactly how Mom wanted it. Well, except that she didn’t want us to have a service for her, and we did.

  21. We made all three of our children equal executors of our will/trust. We hope it will keep everyone happy with each other. No one is the boss, they’re all equal just like now while we’re alive.

  22. IndianaAli says:

    I’m quite morbid I guess… on the first of the year I try to go over these things with my son/executor… I cannot tell you how thrilled he is starting the new year this way… LOL… Besides enjoying aggravating him a bit, I want to make it as simple and complete as possible. We have a trust set up and a pour-over will… Unfortunately need to make some changes regarding recent family circumstances, etc. I set up wills, advanced directives, financial POA on parents also. My dad died suddenly and peacefully in his sleep and no problems with anything, I knew exactly what needed to be done and did it… very simple and quick and gave me time to grieve without any worries. Mom has Alzheimer’s and her “paperwork” has been invaluable to me in many situations… but I did learn that Social Security will not accept POA… had to have her physician write up that she was mentally incompetent in order to deal with SS following my father’s death and obtaining benefits for my mom… that was the only “glitch”

    My other financial plan to avoid wills/estates/probate is to DIE BROKE and I’m certainly well on my way to that nowadays.. I guess we will just have to wait and see if we outlive our retirement.. right now it is about a 50/50 proposition…

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