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Putting Things in Place

We are all shaped by our personal beliefs and experiences, and we should make our plans and choices for end-of-life arrangements known to trusted family members or friends. No one knows when life will end. Taking time to make advance preparations for this inevitability is both practical and necessary.

Make sure you know the location and have access to your loved one’s important papers that may be needed as end of life approaches. Keep information regarding insurance policies, retirement plans, bank accounts, outstanding bills, deeds or titles to property, and other documents together in a secure location. You will also need your loved one’s birth certificate, marriage certificates (and divorce papers, if applicable), military discharge papers and social security card, as well as birth certificates of any of the person with Parkinson’s children who are still minors. You might want to let a trusted friend or family member know the location of these items, as well.

Who Can Help

It is advisable to seek the advice of an attorney to create legal documents such as wills, trusts, power of attorney, and other documents that will help protect your loved one’s financial assets, allow the designated person to carry out necessary business, and ensure that individual needs and wishes are protected. Power of attorney for finances ends at the time of death, and the will takes over for management of financial matters.

Start the Conversation

While the topic of funeral and memorial services and last arrangements may be a difficult conversation to start, it is important for those who wish to express their personal choices for type of service, music, readings and location. Taking time to put things in place can reduce stress and empower families to know that they are following their loved one’s wishes. There are many ways to begin a conversation about planning ahead. It could start as a casual discussion, or occur during a more formal family meeting. Preplanning funeral arrangements can offer peace of mind and a true understanding of individual requests, costs and other details. Notes of these choices will be invaluable and should be kept in a secure location. A local funeral home representative is usually available to help you make these arrangements.

Know Their Wishes

Although it may take some time and effort, it can also be important to ask people about their wishes as end of life approaches. An individual may request visits from family and friends. A person of faith may wish to have conversation with clergy or other spiritual advisors. Some people wish to create messages or share photos, mementos or other special personal items with designated individuals. These gifts are usually appreciated and treasured by the recipients.

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