As you consider your goals for the year, we encourage you to add to your list advance care planning and communicating your wishes to loved ones. While planning for age and illness may not be as exciting as starting a yoga class, it is vitally important and often ignored until a crisis. This year, make creating, reviewing and updating your estate plans and advance care planning documents, and informing your loved ones of your wishes a priority. You’ll be giving yourself peace of mind and your loved ones a gift. Our checklist can help you get started.
- Research and communicate your aging well plan with loved ones. As you age, do you wish to remain in your current home or would you want to move to an assisted living or skilled nursing facility? Do you want to elect hospice or palliative care if/when you become seriously ill?
- Create, Review and/or Revise Your Advance Care Documents. The Texas Health and Human Services website contains explanations, instructions and printable advance planning forms in English and Spanish. Click here to review. While it is not imperative to have legal counsel to complete these documents, it is often helpful to enlist the help of an elder law attorney or other legal representative to ensure you have addressed all of your concerns. Texas Legal Hospice is a great resource for low income individuals.
- Review Your Will. Check for any changes that may need to be made because of a life change or add a charitable gift to organizations you care about, such as VNA, in your plans. Click here to view helpful estate planning resources.
- Confirm Your Executor. Make sure the person named is still the qualified individual you want to manage your estate, resolve claims and distribute the designated portions of your estate to your chosen beneficiaries.
- Update Guardians. Make sure you are still comfortable with the guardian named in your will for those under your care. If your dependents were minor children that are now grown, does a guardian still need to be listed?
- Review Your Beneficiaries. Make sure the beneficiaries you have designated for your insurance and retirement plans are up to date. Once you’ve named someone a beneficiary, let them know so they can claim the proceeds.
- Check Your Power of Attorney. Make sure your durable powers of attorney for financial and health care are current. Provide a copy of your financial power of attorney to the named person. Your health care power of attorney will need a copy, along with your health care provider.
WFAA aired a week-long series, Aging Well, highlighting VNA and other aging resources. Click here to watch. Knowing your wishes and communicating them with your loved ones is a gift not only to yourself, but to your loved ones.
*The information in this article is not intended as legal advice. For such advice, please consult an attorney.