Things Happen – Are You Prepared?
There are two things that are certain in life – death and taxes. Even at a young age, death can happen – due to a car or fishing accident or even a severe health condition. If something happened to you, would your loved ones know where to start?
Think about what someone might need if they were filing claims or applying for benefits of any kind. Put the items in a file, journal or computer file, so it would be easier for your loved ones to handle your business without extra stress.
Items that are needed: Cremation or burial preferences, plans to donate your organs; all insurance policies; veteran information; where your will is located and who has access to the safe deposit box, and any other estate planning information. Make the file easy to find.
Share your information with your “go to” person who will handle your affairs when you pass on. Draft a document of your wishes.
Make it clear which funeral home to contact and which services you want. Know in advance the fees involved. Educate yourself on cremation and burial expenses. Know the basic services cost.
Decision-Making. It is healthy to make plans for who will make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to make your own decisions. See an attorney to prepare a Durable Power of Attorney document, designating the person who will make financial and business decisions for you.
Designate who will make your health care decisions if you are unable by preparing a Power of Attorneyfor Health Care document; also consider a living will document if that matches your wishes. The Area Agency on Aging has a brochure that can assist you with the process, also found at http://www.aging.iowa.gov/Documents/Publications/GiftofPeaceofMind.pdf - note that the brochure includes the forms as well. Standard Iowa documents for Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will are available through the Iowa Bar Association at http://iowabar.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=171. Most attorneys will discuss these issues with clients when working on a will, as well.