Legal Documents Aren’t Enough | Will and a Way

Even though our parents were prepared, we faced an avalanche of difficult decisions

 

Our kids were 13 and 16, and our son had just finished chemotherapy, when we really started to realize just how bad things were with my mom. After a lifetime of working and handling virtually all the practical aspects of life – budgeting and paying bills, overseeing investments, managing medical matters for herself and my dad – she was having trouble understanding the utility statements. She no longer understood the difference between a credit card and a debit card. She started going through her files over and over, struggling to stay on top of things that had once been so simple, and making a total mess of their paperwork.

Dementia doesn’t take a predictable path, and in just a few months, we had to step in with more and more practical assistance. Dad was declining, too, struggling to use the computer, unable to use an ATM, and no longer able to drive. He also became suspicious and angry, accusing us of interfering and trying to take over, giving them help he said they didn’t need. My parents forgot, over and over, why we were talking about moving them and selling the house. My mom had no recollection of overdosing on her medications. My dad had completely forgotten about the time he wandered outside and locked himself out in the middle of the night.

Even though our parents had freely shared their legal documents with us – their wills, powers of attorney and other documents had all been prepared – there was still so much we didn’t know. Doctors, medications, bank accounts, insurance policies, and much more needed to be sorted out. We had to decide what to liquidate and what to keep. When we sold the house, who should get what? Did anyone in the family want to buy their cars? Was it OK to give the china to Goodwill, or would one of our aunts want it? Plus, we had to manage their ongoing care and navigate a whole new way of relating to our confused, vulnerable parents. It’s an endless stream of emotionally exhausting tasks and decisions.

My parents were organized, had saved and prepared well for retirement, and were in good health before dementia hijacked all of their plans. Because we don’t live near one another, my brothers and I were constantly emailing, calling, and texting to exchange information. A shared spreadsheet simply wasn’t enough – and not secure, either. We’re all parents still raising kids, too. None of us have any extra time to deal with all of this, but, of course, we deal with it anyway. We knew there had to be a better way.

I really wish Will and A Way had been around for my parents. My husband and I are beyond relieved to know that our kids will be spared the avalanche of difficult actions and decisions that my brothers and I faced.

That’s my story.
Erika

 

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Everyone needs a will – that’s critical. But legal documents don’t give your personal agent all of the practical information they will need. With Will and a Way, the details are made clear. And in case of a disaster, like a fire or flood, this information is easy to access and imperative to have.

Information shared here is not to be taken as legal or financial advice. Suggestions and resources are presented for your consideration and may or may not apply to your personal situation. Please consult your advisers.

Information shared here is not to be taken as legal or financial advice. Suggestions and resources are presented for your consideration and may or may not apply to your personal situation. Please consult your advisers.

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