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Life Legacies

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Home Instead research has revealed that nearly half of all Boomers would like to know more about their parents' end-of-life wishes. Home Instead, with the help of author and advance planning expert Jo Meyers, is providing a set of tools that can help seniors and their families make sure that their wishes are carried out.

  • Five Ways to Talk with Your Loved One About End-of-Life Issues
    End-of-life issues are particularly heart-wrenching senior topics. This flyer provides valuable tips on how to discuss these sensitive issues.
  • Pre-Planning Checklist
    Seniors and their families will be ready for the inevitable by completing this Life Legacy Checklist, which is an easy way for them to make sure everything is in order and their families are prepared.
  • Five Wishes
    Seniors should know that their wishes will be honored and this important tool, from the organization Aging with Dignity and offered through Home Instead, can help make sure that happens.

In addition to these resources, you may want to consider the following information.

Vital Designations

Aside from a will (and finding it), there is much information needed to prepare for leaving a lasting legacy. First, has your father considered advance care planning and has he named a Personal Representative and powers of attorney? A web search of advance directives will provide state-by-state details about legal documents required to ensure trusted people will be able to make decisions for your father if he is not able to do so for himself.

A durable power of attorney for health care, also called a health-care proxy, can protect your parents' desire to carry out their end-of-life wishes. It will be important for your family to educate yourselves about various medical treatment options then put those wishes in writing. A living will is a document that specifies your wishes about important health-care decisions.

Research: Nearly half (46.4%) of U.S. Boomers said they would like to know more about their parents' end-of-life wishes including medical directives.

Getting Started

Second, your dad needs a personal, pre-planning checklist. This is a list that will help his family know the friends and professionals he would like notified if something happens to him, what accounts to close, what announcements to post, which wishes to carry out and the non-titled property to be disbursed. Brainstorm a list of information that would possibly be needed. Include names along with contact and account numbers for: retirement pay, insurance policies, investments, bank accounts and safe-deposit boxes, properties, preferred law and accountant firms, pre-paid arrangements for death anything that comes to mind.

Important Details

Don't forget to make note of phone service, newspaper delivery, real estate agent, veterinarian, association memberships, family, friends and neighbors who should be called. Detail wishes for final arrangements. Has your parent written an obituary? In what newspaper or newsletter would he like an obituary to appear? Is there a place where donations should be made in your parent's name? If there will be a memorial service, who will deliver the eulogy and how should the funeral be conducted?

Perhaps a credit card could be made available for your father's Personal Representative to use when carrying out official duties after his death. (Suggestion: Carefully stipulate how the card is to be used and that it is to be destroyed once the duties are carried out.) Property disbursement specific items that go to specific people might also be discussed and written down. Let your checklist evolve as you learn and talk with others. If all this information is signed, dated and kept together (with the will) in a safe location known by his adult children, then Dad will be truly good to go.

Last revised: December 8, 2010

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