Do you have a list of all of your automatic payments? If you receive paper bills and then write checks to cover them, there’s no problem. When you die, your heirs can just notify those companies who are sending the bills that you are deceased and they can close the accounts. But if you have payments automatically taken out of your checking account or charged to a credit card every month, your heirs will not find paper bills and may not know who they need to notify.
Even though Richard Palmer, Sr.’s family thought they had closed his bank account after he died, a month later it sprang back to life and started processing incoming charges (this type of account is called a zombie bank account) and electronic payments kept being made….until there was an overdraft of $888,888!
You should make a list of all of the automatic payments that are made on your behalf every month and put a list of those payments with your important papers. That way, your family will know who to contact after you’re gone and they won’t find themselves with a huge overdraft like the family of Richard Palmer, Sr.
Today is National Health Care Directives Day. A day to talk about death. A day to talk about Living Wills and Health Care Power of Attorney forms, referred to as advance health care directives.
Why is it important to talk about dying and health care directives. It’s simple. We will all die. However, the way we will die will be different than the way our grandparents died. They died fast, due to acute illnesses like influenza or pneumonia. A government study envisions that today, 80 percent will die a lingering death from things like Alzheimer’s, emphysema, cancer and Parkinson’s. Our children or our spouse will need to make choices on our behalf between life…and quality of life.
When having dinner with your friends or family tonight, think about that sobering number. Three out of the four people sitting at the dinner table will die a lingering death. Someone will need the legal authority to make health care choices on your behalf. Someone will be hoping they are making the choice you would have wanted.
Rather than talking about the engagement ring Brad gave Angelina….make your dinner conversation important. Ask yourself these questions:
Who do you want to make health care choices on your behalf?
What choices do you want them to make?
Do you want to donate your organs or your tissues?
Have you completed a living will and a health care power of attorney form documenting these wishes. If so, where are they? In California and some other states, these two forms are combined in a single form referred to as an Advance Health Care Directive.
Your estate planning lawyer can help you complete a Living Will and a Health Care Power of Attorney form. You have the right to complete these forms without involving a lawyer.
Hers’s some resources that may help you start the discussion:
A great presentation by Dr. Peter Saul at the TED conference called “Let’s talk about dying.”
Basically, it says that you should make sure that the originals of all of your valuable papers are put somewhere safe and that a loved one knows where that safe place is. Otherwise, when you become incapacitated or after you die there may be a great deal of frustration and unnecessary work as your heir or estate representative tries to figure out what you’ve done and how to prove it.
Check out this article and also check out Die Smart for more information on what to do.
The Health and Human Service Department has announced the launch of HealthCare.gov on Facebook.
If you visit healthcare.gov, you will find several tools that can help consumers make educated choices about their medical care.
One of the tools is titled “Nursing Home Compare”. It provides a list of U.S. nursing homes which includes demographics (location and type of facility) and nursing home ratings, which include health inspection reports, staffing data and quality measures.
Another tool is called “Home Health Compare”. The Home Health Compare tool can help you compare the quality of care that home healthcare agencies provides.
If someone you know needs help with long term care, this information may be very useful.
This is also a go to site if you want to find more facts about ObamaCare.
You can join Healthcare.gov on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/healthcare.gov.
If you have an elderly or incapacitated relative who would like a new service or subscription, be sure to put it in their name, NOT yours. Request “user” access so you can pay the bills but don’t put the account(s) in your name. If you do, you may be sorry.A recent AARP magazine article told a story about a man who had moved into an assisted living facility. His niece’s husband ordered Dish Network for him. Shortly thereafter he died but the contract lived on. If it had been in the name of the deceased, it could have been canceled. Most companies that sell subscriptions are willing to cancel them upon the death of the account holder. However, since the contract was in the name of a living person, Dish refused to cancel it. It was only through the efforts of an AARP advocate that the problem was finally resolved.