Thursday, June 18, 2015

Estate Planning

In the Together in This Introductory Guide to Alzheimer's one of the first things on the To Do list - after safety but before medical - is to make sure our legal documents are in order. There are 4 must haves:
Health Care Directive, Medical Power of Attorney, Financial Power of Attorney and Last Will and Testament.

To prove to myself that I am capable of taking action - baby steps, not giant leaps - I called a recommended Elder Care lawyer on Monday. It just so happens he was hosting a brief seminar on estate planning on Tuesday so I said sign us up.  Anyone who knows me knows that I'd rather swim with sharks than sit through this kind of lecture.  I may have lost a few brain cells over the years, but I still consider myself about as smart as the Average Joe. Still when faced with a white erase board with words and dollar amounts written in various colors, separated by columns but hooked together by curving arrows, all my inner kindergartner can think of is recess. 

There were 4 other women and 1 man besides Sweetie and myself in the room. I took notes as fast as I could. I am pretty sure others were comprehending more than I was. No one else had the glazed over look in their eyes with a "la la la la"cartoon balloon hanging their heads.  When the person sitting next to me raised his hand and asked a question about "re-marriage" protection  I stopped coloring in all the zero's and putting smiley faces in all the o's on the page.  The question made the lawyer version Doogie Howzer, MD stop and scratch his head.  He stopped, stuttered a little, took a sip of water before addressing the question. I turned to look at my husband with early stage dementia with his hand still in the air.

How is it that Sweetie can ask a brain teaser kind of question?
Didn't we come here because we needed information?
Didn't we come here because one of us has ALZ and can't remember stuff?
Am I on candid camera?

Turns out at one time in Sweetie's life he gave these same exact presentations to retired snow birds living in central Florida mobile home parks. You mean we could have skipped this action step and gone straight to signing the legal forms?

I understand that it is important for me to have a handle on this stuff. I'm glad to have the hand-outs and notes to refer back to. But here's what I took away from the meeting. 

  • Doogie is making enough in legal fees to give away really nice pens.
  • There's got to be a less painful way to explain stuff as boring as the sandscape in the Sahara desert.
  • I should have listened to my father.
  • I don't have much of an estate so why all the fuss?
  • There is not going to be enough money in the national budget to care for all the seniors on medicaid which is the #1 fall back position for paying for long term care of one sort or another. Elder Care lawyers stay in business by finding the loopholes to protect assets and get the government to pay the bills. 
  • Perhaps Sweetie doesn't even have ALZ. I mean, damn, if he can remember estate planning facts and figures from 15 years ago, maybe he's got sleep apnea after all and just needs a little extra oxygen at night. I think we need a 2nd/3rd/4th opinion.
Tomorrow I'll fill out the forms. Tonight I'll eat cake,
Merry ME

1 comment:

Wishful traveler AKA 'Mom' said...

You bring levity to a day otherwise weighed down by the humdrum