So recently, my dad had to undergo brain surgery, which resulted in him in being hospitalized for some time. This also resulted in the hospital asking my mom if she had a Power of Attorney or Medical Surrogate form. Well, she does not. Did I mention my parents are in their early 70s? I am amazed they have come this far without having these documents to protect themselves and their family. By the time most of most of us have teenagers, our parents are starting to age and we need to think about what that means for us.
For years, I have been telling my parents, mostly my mom, to please get a will, power of attorney, etc. I told her to get their estate planned. She constantly dismissed me with excuses that she did not need it; she did not have a lot of money to have an estate planned. I kept telling her that it is not about the money, it is about protecting the assets you have so my brother and I could have legal access to their accounts if God forbid something happened to them. Does she not realize the nightmare my brother and I would have if we do not have any legal papers authorizing us to handle their estate or medical decisions?
Like my parents, there are many people out there who are in their 70s, 60s and 50s or older who have nothing in place to protect whatever assets they have or make any medical decisions for them in case of an emergency.
What do they think happens to their estate when they pass? Do they honestly think the courts will say, “go ahead and sell the house and take the profits?” NO! What do they think would happen, if God forbid they are both incapacitated and their bills need to be paid? When my brother or I call the bank or credit card company, they would say we do not have legal authority to their account. Then, the bills would not get paid and we would have no access to anything of theirs, including the ability to make medical decisions.
In a world filled with identity theft, it is crucial now more than ever to protect whatever assets you have and that includes your health, the most important asset! You do not have to be rich to protect yourself, your home, jewelry, personal mementos or car.
I think for my mom, it is the work that has to be done for the estate planning that overwhelmed her, not to mention she thought it costs thousands of dollars. She does not know what estate planning is or the cost. Many people are like my mother and are afraid or unaware, so they rather not plan or think about it.
There are resources out there that can make this process smooth, painless and easy. I have seen and read about many legal companies that will help you connect with attorneys that will do the planning for you. I know ARAGlegal.com is a great resource for estate planning. The company provides legal insurance, which includes access to estate planning. I encourage everyone who does not have their estate planned to visit ARAG.com and see how easy it is to get it started.
As parents, I truly believe we should not only protect our children, but protect what we have worked for all our lives.
*ARAG is an affiliate partner of RaisingTeensBlog.