“To every thing there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” Eccles. 3:1
March is “Make A Will” Month!! What a great time to think of the ‘seasons’ of our life and make certain we have our ‘ducks in a row’ for our Life Planning. No matter what our age, anyone over 18 should have a will and a life plan. Great grief and stress can be avoided if individuals make their own decisions about their future, their possessions, and their desires. I can hear you saying,” Oh, I made a will years ago so that’s all done” or “I don’t need a will, I’m too young” or “I think my family knows what I want”!!! All of the above statements have led to families being torn apart, wishes not carried out, and great confusion when things might be stressful enough. Your documents should be updated every 5 years or whenever things change in your life. SO—Now is the time to think of your LIFE CARE PLANNING and get the job done.
? Find updated Life Care Planning forms at the Arizona Attorney General’s Office (call 1-800-352-8431 or online at www.azag.gov ) Ask for Life Care Planning Forms.
? Discuss the forms with family, pastor, or lawyer if you have questions. You do NOT have to have a lawyer to complete these forms.
? Always make several copies of completed forms and make sure family, your agent , your Doctors, and Hospital have copies. Always keep copies for yourself readily available.
? Forms include: Durable Health Care Power of Attorney which chooses whom you would have make your health care decisions if you are unable to do so. This is known as your AGENT ( spouse, friend, family member with heathcare experience, or any trusted person); Durable Mental Health Power of Attorney chooses one you wish to make decisions about your mental health care if need be. Living Will (End of life care) lets you decide exactly what you do or do not wish to happen at the end of your life. Discuss this with your Parish Nurse or a Health Care Professional if you have questions. Letter to my agent allows you to notify your chosen agent of your wishes–making sure that person has a copy of your forms. Pre-Hospital Medical Directive (DNR) must be on orange paper!! Especially important if on hospice care or wishing no extreme measures be done.
? An additional form is FIVE WISHES which is available from your Parish Nurse or online. This form allows additional wishes added to your Living Will. It is wonderful comfort information for your caregivers.
? Also included in your planning should be your Will or Trust that make certain your money and tangible property is distributed the way YOU wish it to be. This also helps avoid costly probate and legal fees. It is wise to consult an Attorney or Financial Planner for this plan. A great resource is the book “A Will Is Not Enough in Arizona” by Pohl & Morris.
Prayerfully consider and get your plan made in March.
Alice Stephenson BSN,RN,PN