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Friday, March 22, 2013

Preparing now for our children's future

As a mom with young kids, it’s something I don’t really want to think about, but something I know I need to prepare for. I’m talking about death. Just like the birth of a child, we prepare by getting everything ready for the baby from the clothes to the car seat to who will be the baby’s doctor. We also need to prepare for our death. It’s not for us that we are preparing, but for those we leave behind.
We don’t know when we are going to die. We may live to be 100, but we may only live to be 30. In the past few years, I have had friends who have died unexpectedly leaving young kids behind.
I am realizing more and more why it is so important to have my wishes written down. A will is a good place to start. I use to think wills were for old people with money.
They aren’t. A will can be as simple as you want it. It is something that tells those who are left behind what you want to happen with your money, valuables or assets. If you have kids like I do, you want to make sure that if you and your spouse were to die that your kids would live with the guardians you appoint.
Have you thought about a living will? Remember the Terry Schiavo case?  Schiavo’s family and husband went back and forth in the court over whether or not to take her off of life support.
You want to make sure your family knows what you want if you are in a coma or in a vegetative state.  It is also a good idea to know who you want to appoint as your health care surrogate. This is a person who will make medical decisions when you can’t make them for yourself.
One form I have already had to use is the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) release form. This form is important when dealing with doctors and insurance companies. If you don’t have your husband on the form doctors and insurance agents won’t release information to your spouse about you and vice versa. I just switched insurance this year and had to do another one of these forms for the new insurance company. It is so frustrating when you can’t get information you need because this form isn’t on file. 
As I have been thinking about these documents and the thought of what could happen, I decided I would write a few letters to my girls just in case I am not around for their 16th birthday, 18th birthday, graduation from high school and college, their wedding day and the day they have a child. I am hoping I am around for all these memorable moments in their lives, but if I’m not I want them to know how special they are to me. I want to be a part of those moments even if it’s just on paper. As I am writing this, I am thinking maybe I’ll even do a video on the Webcam. Technology…wow!  
All of these documents I just mentioned you can find for free online including: a living will, a health care surrogate, HIPAA release form, and even an organ donor form. It’s important to take care of these things before you can’t. You never know what the future holds. I know we don’t like to think about these things and if you are a young mom or dad, you think it won’t happen for years, but it’s a chance you can’t take.
Click here to go to the America Living Will Registry site offering free documents.

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