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Am I forgetting anything? Today I signed my will, my DPOA, my medical POA, my living will. I visited the grave site and picked up a map showing where my grave site is and address and contact number.


Per my son's request, I'm also doing a list of all my passwords, address of my bank, all the people who will need to be notified when I die. What kind of funeral I want.


Am I forgetting anything? I don't plan on leaving this earth for another 20 years or so (I'm 73) but after being on this group I realize I need to have my ducks in a row.

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There are some things in here added to my previous post. See especially paragraph 5 starting with: "This next part is really important."

I am 72, close in age to you whaleyf, and I hope to live a long life too. You did your son a big favor by discussing the inevitable with him and doing all you have already done.

My mother's documents were created in 2006. The new elder law attorney I hired in 2018 said the documents didn't contain everything he would like and that updated documents would have been better. Anyway we are working with the 2006 documents.

From my experience with my mom and her 2006 documents, here is what I would suggest. Either you or your son should call your doctors, hospitals, banks, mortgage companies, credit card companies, insurances including health insurance, investment companies, annuity and/or Certificate of Deposit companies, pension companies, and any other companies that your son might have to deal with on your behalf if you were deemed incapacitated or if you died. Don't forget Social Security. Ask them how to get your son recognized and authorized as your DPOA within their company.

Each company has a different procedure but for most of them I had to send in a copy (usually fax or postal mail) of the DPOA document and a letter from me requesting that I be recognized and authorized as DPOA for my mother within the individual company. The company's legal department then basically checks out the DPOA to make sure it is valid and enters it into the company's computer system.

This next part is really important: MAKE SURE THE COMPANY SENDS YOU A LETTER STATING THAT THEIR COMPANY RECOGNIZES AND AUTHORIZES YOUR SON AS YOUR DPOA AND CAN SPEAK TO AND DEAL WITH THEIR COMPANY ABOUT YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS MATTERS WITH THAT COMPANY. In most companies, that letter took them about 2 weeks to send to me.

Now I keep copies of mother's DPOA document, doctor's statement of incapacity, and the letters from the different companies together in a small portable binder. It makes it easier for me to see at a glance if I have already contacted a company.

Here's something else I learned. One annuity company wouldn't speak to me over the phone because they said the DPOA I had sent them was more than 5 years old and they considered it expired. They sent me an affidavit to complete stating that the DPOA was still current. I had to have it notarized and fax it back to them. They refused to talk with me until that affidavit was returned. Not a difficult task but it added a couple of more weeks to getting paperwork I needed quickly.

One of mom's banks, required a copy of her revocable trust document or they wouldn't talk to me about any bank asset listed in the trust even though I had a valid DPOA. They said the DPOA didn't include anything in the trust (again, I was working with 2006 trust and DPOA documents). They wanted my mother to sign a document stating that I could deal with her assets listed in her trust. Since she was legally incapacitated by that time, I made an appointment for both mom and myself with her long-time lawyer. The lawyer created one document in which mom resigned (quit) as Trustee of the Trust and another document naming me as the new Trustee of the Trust. It worked.

Four practical tips: 1. Banks used to send any fax free for you if you were their customer. Now they have some pretty strict limitations. My bank still provided free notary services since my mother and I are their customers. 2. The public library in my town had the lowest prices for faxing documents. 3. When you call a company that you already have a letter from, tell the customer service rep up front that you have that letter. 4. If you are calling a company on your cell phone, have the phone plugged in because you can wait a long time. Murphy's law says (and I can attest to this) that your unplugged phone charge will die as soon as you start to talk to the customer service that you waited so long for.

Onward!
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whaleyf Sep 20, 2018
Great information. I only have my Checing about which is me living from pay check to pay check. So other than my life insurance to burry me, there won’t be a lot to deal with when the time comes. But will make sure he’s on all the medical stuff so they know he should have everything he needs and the authority to do what needs to be done.
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MAKE SURE THAT IF YOU HAVE DOCUMENTS LIKE A 401K OR IRA THATYOU HAVE DESIGNATED THE BENEFICIARY THAT YOU WANT TO HAVE ACCESS, OTHERWISE IT MAY NOT GO WHERE YOU WANT IT TO
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Not sure of the laws in your state, but did you also do a Living Trust? If so don't forget to add your bank accounts to the trust and then HAVE THEM NAMED PROPERLY. My Aunt just passed away and we were the TRUSTEE 's for her estate. Sh enever 'got around' to re-nameing her accounts "The Sally_________ Living Trust Account. " Had she finished tying this chore up, we would not be headed to civil court to sue the man that entered her life 11 months ago and coerced her into putting his name on the account. She would have had to notify us and taken steps to modify/change her will/trust. If the process would have been more taxing, she would never have done it. Someone would have taken time to explain that adding a 'signer' to an account makes them a joint account holder unless otherwise specified. Also if some thing did happen to you, banks are not very receptive to POA's and they, more often than not, don't just accept them. Also with a Trust you can typically avoid formal probate and also avoid estate taxes.
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I want to thank everyone for the great advice given on my question. I'm adding stuff to "get this" list and adding it to my folder. My mother, her mother and all her aunts on her mother's side had dementia. I'm probably looking at my future. Being in this group has been an eye opener and really hit home that I needed to get all this done. (that and my son begging me.) :-)

Funny side note... as I mentioned in an answer above... I am really slow at unpacking. A major change of apartment buildings in October left my spare bedroom with boxes all over the place. (I even had a problem getting the door open) Anyway, a dear friend of mine from my old apartment complex ended up with bed bugs. I had been over there a lot sitting on her bug invested couch. That really lit a fire under me and I started to spring clean my apartment like mad. I even went to our apartment manager and asked them to inspect my place for bugs. They were happy to do it. No bugs and my friend's place has finally been declared bug free. She may have tracked some into my car (I always give her rides to the doctor) but it's been so hot (can't even touch the steering wheel) that if I did have bugs they died. Life is just one adventure after another around here. :-)
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I want to thank everyone for the great advice given on my question. I'm adding stuff to "get this" list and adding to my folder. My mother, her mother and all her aunts on her mother's side had dementia. I'm probably looking at my future. Being in this group has been an eye opener and really hit home that I needed to get all this done. (that and my son begging me.) :-)

Funny side note... as I mentioned in an answer above... I am really slow at unpacking. A major change of apartment buildings in October left my spare bedroom with boxes all over the place. (I even had a problem getting the door open) Anyway, a dear friend of mine from my old apartment complex ended up with bed bugs. I had been over there a lot sitting on her bug invested couch. That really lit a fire under me and I started to spring clean my apartment like mad. I even went to our apartment manager and asked them to inspect my place for bugs. They were happy to do it. No bugs and my friend's place has finally been declared bug free. She may have tracked some into my car (I always give her rides to the doctore) but it's been so hot (can't even touch the steering wheel) that if I did have bugs they died. Life is just one adventure after another around here. :-)
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What about an advance directive? You have done a good job in your preparation - kudos to you. What about POD on your financial accounts? Any real estate? You can do Joint owner with right of survivorship to avoid probate.
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Good for you - you are showing a real love for your son by not leaving him guessing when the time comes - my mom is 92 & dad died just a year ago at 94 so I hope your next 20 years are joyful & healthy - it looks like you have got your ducks in a row but every province is different so check with your ministry that takes care of it

By now you probably know that I am a proud Canadian & you may not be so lucky so check what is needed in the place you vote in as this can vary greatly depending on the local laws - good luck
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Get a package of all documents: marriage certificate, birth certificate, death certificate of spouse, divorce papers, full name of your parents, social insurance number card, any other official paper you can think of - I'd then put them all in a safety deposit box with son as co-user so he'd just go in & get them but keep copies at home - this way if house is burgled/fire or other you will have them off site
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whaleyf Aug 31, 2018
It's funny you mentioned the certificates because I just ran across all of them while unpacking my spare bedroom. (I moved in October but just never got around to this room). I'll add them to the package. Thanks. Also will need them the next time I get my DL renewed so I'm glad I found them all.
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There is a booklet called 5 Wishes this lists all sorts of things. You can get the information on line.
Do you have a P.O.L.S.T? A P.O.L.S.T. is more detailed than a DNR it lists what treatments you wish and how involved they can be and for what length of time. Either of the documents can be changed at any time. So now you feel like you will not leave this earth for another 20 years but your feelings might change if something happens. If your feelings change the document can be changed, just have another signed and void the previous one. Keep in mind a DNR nor a POLST exist unless you have it with you so if you are in an accident and your documents are hanging on the refrigerator back home the First Responders will do what they can to save you, that is their job. So always keep a copy of the DNR or POLST with you.

Also pre plan and pre pay for that funeral. That way "grieving family members" are less likely to be talked into something more elaborate out of guilt , or going for the cardboard box so they can keep all the millions you leave behind ;)
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jenny6 Aug 15, 2018
POLSTS are state-specific (and named a little differently depending on the state - they could be called MOLST, TPOPP, LaPOLST for example). Here in California they are not valid unless signed by a physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant. Also, they are recommended only for those people who have a serious illness with a life expectancy of a year or less. In practice, many people have signed POLSTS who do not fit the recommended criteria.
You might also consider an advance directive for dementia if you prefer to not suffer a prolonged death from dementia, which can take years and years. Current thinking is that putting in your advance directive that should xxx occur in your dementia you wish food and water to be withheld. The important part is to state that you prohibit spoon feeding. It would take a strong patient advocate to pull this off, but most likely it would never happen if not written down.
Don't put the documents aside for 20 years and forget them; they need to be reviewed occasionally. It seems like the POLSTs and advance directives for dementia are evolving.
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Kudos to you for planning ahead. My mother did that with me in 2006 and I am so grateful to her. She is in a memory care facility now. The advice to consolidate everything into one account is great advice. Surprisingly I found that many places, (like her banks, credit card companies, health insurance, annuities, pension benefit, social security administration, for example) wouldn’t even talk to me unless they recognized and authorized me as being her DPOA. That involved sending a request letter and a copy of the POA document to them. They then would notify me with a letter stating I was her legal rep on their system. It usually took about 10-days to 2 weeks. Each company was separate. Those letters are like gold if you want to get anything done with each company so put them with your important papers. Her big bank investment company told me they do not recognize any POAs unless they are court ordered. I had to become the person who receives her social security money before they would talk to me or let me create an online account for her. The DPOA was only a starting point in many cases for me. You just have to kind of wade through it and find out what each company requires.
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Something else you may want to think about are the savings, bank accounts, investments, and any real estate. I did this with financial and legal advice. You may be able to avoid probate of the estate depending on the size of the estate. I have set up mine with my proof of death POD and designated who my funds will go to. All they have to do is present the death certificate. Additionally I have my home set up "Joint owners with right of survivorship" and designated who is to have this. Just met with my attorney and he indicated that my estate will not have to go through probate because of the way I have set it up. Depending on the size of the estate you may need to set up a trust. Just depends on how involved it it.
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Judysai422 Aug 15, 2018
Great advice. Also, have your son added to your bank, brokerage and other financial accounts as POA! This way if you become disabled, he can pay your bills for you or move money as needed. DO NOT add him as a joint owner because that will allow people to use him and come after his money if there is, heaven forbid, an accident, etc. Do not comingle funds.
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The best thing you can do for your family is having your ducks in a row; we live through life thinking we have time until it hits and everything is too late ---THANKYOU, being pro-active is a gift and at the same time you state what you want and your wishes.
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I put together a binder based on Nolo's "Get It Together" book (link below). The one I got included a CD that allowed you to save the basic format to your computer, then alter the layout to fit your own needs (add/delete columns, schedules, etc.). I've added copies of SS and Medicare cards, Drivers Licenses, Birth Certificates, Veterans' Discharge, etc. It was a TREMENDOUS help when my dad died; everything was right at my fingertips. Now I have one for my mom, and one for me.
https://smile.amazon.com/Get-Together-Organize-Records-Family/dp/1413323154/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1534340394&sr=8-1&keywords=nolo+get+it+together
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whaleyf Aug 31, 2018
thanks for the link
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- A “guardianship in case of incapacity” document.
- bank accounts all done POD to your son
- also Look to see if the burial policy also covers all the costs related to the funeral services. I’ll bet some things are not included, like florals and police escort.

If funeral home is on site of the where cemeteries is, it probably is a tandem policy so covers both. But if cemetery’s is its own entity it will have its own costs. Where you really see this is Catholic or Jewish cemeteries which are owned by thier religious institution.... they will have fees for everything on thier grounds, like opening site or vault. Yet the FH will have all their own fees from picking up the body, prepping it, viewing/rosary at the FH and getting casket and entourage to the cemeteries. So you need both a FH & burial pre-need policies.

Also if this is a traditional funeral / burial, do a list of pallbearers. And give some thought as to allowing your family to change the plan done today in the future and having that ability to change in your documents. Things change. You could live to be a nonagenarian and Sonny now 20+ years later lives states away and everybody on the pallbearer list is too old, dead or physically unable to be a pallbearer....
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I might also write down and make sure your son understands your preferences for funeral, wake, time of service, music, speakers, etc. One of my parent's pet peeves is when a peer's family has the wake at night, in the winter time. It's cold, dark, sometimes poor weather....they don't drive at night and neither do most in their age group. Meeting an hour or two before the service, during the day really makes more sense for seniors, imo, so, I wonder why it's not done more often.
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I was looking for urns for my mother on Amazon and I found one for me that is absolutely gorgeous. (I'm 61 and in good health). The cloisonné has beautiful blue flowers. I'll order it the next time I have a few extra bucks. It would look great on a shelf unit. One less thing for hubby (or step daughter) to worry about.
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whaleyf Aug 14, 2018
Not being cremated. I already have a plot and want my body to be there.
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The deed to the plot. The funeral director will need it to get the plot opened.

You should make sure all important papers are where they can be found easily. Your birth certificate, marriage certificate, copies of SS, license, Medicaid and insurance cards. Any insurance policies, bonds, IRAs, CDs, and stocks. It makes things so much easier for family.
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I have all my stuff on my computer so have given my son a list of all my pass words. 106 and counting. (it's all in excell) I also bank on line and all my bills are auto pay but of course that would stop the same time my SS stops. The hardest part is "who to contact". So many people and most of them on line and face book. My son was the one that pointed out that I needed to get all this done. Having a dear friend lose her son due to cancer this past week really brought it home. The hard part is done. Now to finish.
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My Mom was very organized and pretty proactive as you are. Here’s a few various things she did which helped us tremendously when she was transitioning from living completely independently to needing more and more help and finally to NH and Medicaid application. It was easier because I am an only child and we trusted each other completely. Your situation may be different, but these may give you some ideas.
About quarterly, she gave me a copy of her monthly “ledger” showing all her bills and payments. This also helped me spot when she started to miss payments due to the beginning of her decline.
Every so often she would ask me to critique her driving.
She would copy me on life insurance, SS and pension letters she’d receive.
She would copy her completed tax filing forms for me, until the point I started filing for her myself.
She added me to her checking and savings accounts.
I was on all her doctors Hippa forms.
I had a list of all her meds and dosing in my cell phone notes. You have no idea how helpful that was during ER visits.
I was her POA before she sold her house and moved to IL apartment.

She kept tremendous records and about 50 years of receipts which were kind of fun to look through. But what I couldn’t find during the Medicaid application process was her marriage license and divorce decree. It really slowed the process. That was Not fun. So make sure they are in with your important papers, if applicable. Moms never turned up.
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whaleyf Aug 13, 2018
thank you. that was a big help
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Oh my, you've been busy. It's such a great thing to plan ahead, so you make it so much easier for your family members. I'd make sure the original documents are safe, fire protected and in a place your son can get to them quickly. If you put them in bank lock box, POA can't get in, without the POA document and that would be locked up.

I'd also get instructions for what to do for your son, so he knows the right order and how to respond. And, provide Life Insurance info, policies, premiums, etc., so that son can pay if you become incapacitated.

AND, I'd sign some Medical Release consent forms that are HIPAA compliant. It's difficult to get medical records without a signed release. The attorney should have them.
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whaleyf Aug 13, 2018
Thanks for your input. Didn't think about the HIPAA. My son will have the originals. My sister in law (back up person) will have a copy and so will I. Two reasons for son to have originals... I loose stuff and he has a fire proof safe to put all this in. We also TALK a lot. My other (oldest) son, I'm lucky if we talk four times a year. I did see him this past summer for a day. He lives over a day's drive away. So even though he'd probably do a good job, it's better that I use the son who is contact with me daily. My sister in law will also make a good back up but has health problems so I'll probably out live her.

I was able to get all this done free of charge. I'm a veteren and once in a great while, if your income is low enough, the legal people will come in and do it for you. I'm so happy to finally get it done and taken care of. My mother and her mother and aunts all ended up with dementia. So I knew not to wait.
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I think it's helpful to have a list of all your asset accounts, life insurance policies, health insurance and long term care policies. Have another list of accounts payable. Make a list of where important papers like birth certificates , veteran's discharge papers, car titles and insurance policies can be found. Arrange for someone who can be contacted if important bills like utilities, annuities, storage facilities or any insurance premiums are not paid. Put these bills on autopay if you can.
Double check all the beneficiaries listed on your retirement and insurance accounts.
If you can, consolidate your investments into one firm. Many of my friends have had a terrible time tracking down their parents' investments from multiple money management firms.
Visit an estate planning attorney for a free consultation. Many of them have booklets or pamphlets to guide you.
You are doing your son a big favor!
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whaleyf Aug 13, 2018
Thanks... adding to my list. I sold my house, that money is gone to several moves. Now in a senior apartment building that I hope to stay in for the rest of my life but realize that with my family history that may not happen. I have one life insurance policy and have debt. Debt should be paid off in one year. The last thing I want to do is leave a mess for my kids. I'm already giving them stuff I know they would want me to leave them in the will. That part is easy. Now that I have an apartment instead of a house I need the room. :-) And since both live out of town, I've warned them, if they want something they need to come visit me and point out what they want. If it's something I'm ready to get rid of they get it right away. If it's something I want to keep I have a list with who's to get what (always in progress). So far so good.
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Wow, whaleyf!
Based on the experiences many of the caregivers here share, I hope your family understands the importance of your willingness to have your ducks in a row. I've included a link to an article that details some of the specifics regarding leaving a letter of instruction. Enjoy your next "20 years or so" with great peace of mind.

https://www.agingcare.com/articles/preparing-a-letter-of-instruction-427686.htm
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whaleyf Aug 13, 2018
Thank you so much for the link. I'll put it to good use. Ever since I hooked up with Aging Care I realized just how much I needed to do. So glad to get most of it done. Hope to have it all done in time for my trip to Wisconsin for Christmas. :-)
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