I have learned through experience that everyone, no matter your age needs to have a plan. If you are recently divorced, you are realizing that all the things you thought your partner would do for you is over. If you are parenting alone or co-parenting, you need a plan that assures your future and the future of your children. And if you remarry, you definitely need a plan for your children.
Dying is not the issue. It is inevitable the we will die. It is living that you are planning for.
My parents died of cancer in their early sixties. Way too early and way too young. Cancer does not discriminate; cancer can happen to anyone. I can say that cancer can create a valuable end of life experience. There is time to say good bye and “I love you,” there is time to talk and understand and impart last stories. And there is time to plan.
My in-laws are aging, and I am learning about another way of dying, Alzheimer’s. The incapacity to remember and the inability to plan. There are four important documents for every family.
- A Florida conformed will, signed, witnessed by two parties and notarized. This is how you protect your children and ensure that your family will be included in the children’s future relationships. A hospital napkin will not suffice.
- A Living Will to specify directions to use for life prolonging procedures. This is how you ensure that someone you love is making medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself.
- A Designated Health Care Surrogate to designate a person to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself.