As a follow-up to the last entry, it helps to have knowledge of –
- insurance policies (health, auto, property, life)
- bank accounts
- real estate holdings / investments
- lock combinations, passwords, hiding places (coffee cans buried in the back yard?)
Legal documents (in future entries, we’ll talk more about these documents with an eldercare attorney)
- Will / Living will
- Power of Attorney
- Health Proxy
With permission, you should make copies of all documentation and keep a set for yourself. Obviously, there must be a level of trust and mutual respect to proceed with this type of talk. And sometimes, family history and dynamics will still muck up your shoes.
Even if your parents are healthy and fit, it’s a good idea to have these conversations sooner than later. As difficult as they may be (we’re talking about mortality, after all), if you engage with compassion and respect, everyone should feel a level of reassurance when done.
As well, do you know what Mom and Dad have in mind for end of life services and rites? High mass or celebration of life, wake/no wake, burial/cremation? “Oh My Pa-Pa” sung by Eddie Fisher or “Without You” by the Dixie Chicks.
I know how much easier it sounds to simply avoid this altogether (we did for years). Still, while you are at it, maybe you should make copies of your own paperwork for a son or daughter (a friend) to hang onto, put your living will together, read up on cryonics………