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  • Writer's pictureYvonne Woods

Get Your Affairs in Order... NOW!

Updated: May 27, 2020

I’m serious and I mean it. Everyone! Regardless your age or your status, it’s important to have all your affairs in order to be prepared for whatever life throws your way. Here’s why I have such a strong opinion.

Back in February 2020, my mother had a fall at home. My mom is 82 and she lives at home alone, in Toronto. I get a phone call from the neighbors mid afternoon saying that they can’t reach my mom. They’ve called several times, they’ve been knocking on the door, and there is no answer. They ask, what should they do? Without hesitation I say, “break the door down!” They enter and find my mom lying on the kitchen floor very confused and extremely dehydrated. They immediately call 911. The kitchen is a complete disaster; it looks like a tornado went through it. What the f*ck happened? I speak to my mom and she doesn’t sound right. Could it have been a stroke? She says she’s been on the floor for 2 days. Wait, what? The EMT arrive and she tells them she’s been on the floor for a couple of hours, no a day, she doesn’t remember. Uh oh. They conduct an assessment and take her to the hospital for further tests.

Days and weeks of tests and various doctors later the story is this, she has mild to moderate Alzheimer dementia and she is in a state of delirium. This all happened so fast. Yes, I knew my mom’s short-term memory was going, but moderate Alzheimer dementia doesn’t happen overnight, or does it? The geriatric doctor’s assessment concluded that this has probably been slowly progressing over the past 2 years.

I am an only child and I am the Personal Directive to make decisions on my mom’s behalf. I am also the Power of Attorney able to make decisions with regards to my mom’s finances and estate etc. After my dad passed away a couple of years ago, I made sure to have copies of all these documents and ensure I was joint on my mom’s bank accounts. This was all thanks to a great friend and client, who is a financial advisor.

The reason I am so adamant about these things is because this all happened so fast. Had I not been aware of where my mom had all her important documents: Will, POA, financial documents, etc. I could have been in a real bind.

After speaking with an estate lawyer to ensure that I knew what to do with all these documents, she asked me if I had a Will and POA. Why would I have all that? I’m young, no dependents, I don’t need that stuff. She asked me what would happen if I was in a terrible accident; who would make decisions on my behalf? There was silence from me on the other end of the phone. Well, I never thought about that. Here I thought that when I die, I don’t care where all my stuff goes, I’ll be dead after all. What if I live and can’t make decisions and am on life support? Who takes care of my stuff and makes the decision whether to pull the plug or not? That was eye opening and scary to think about.

Spend the time and the money now to hire someone to help you get your affairs in order. It provides peace of mind. And what you create now isn’t set in stone. You can always update it, but at least you have all your bases covered for now. It’s not the most pleasant thing to think about, but it sure feels good to know that things will be taken care of for you.

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