Don't put off estate planning another year

Don't put off estate planning another year

It was my recent fall - documented extensively in previous columns - that compelled me to suggest to my husband that we review our estate plan. I guess I needed to remind myself that I am not immortal, and I wanted to be sure that our plan fits our current circumstances.

In these past few years, COVID has increased Americans’ awareness of the need to have a will, living trust or living will.  According to a 2022 survey, people who have had a serious case of Covid said they were 66% more likely to engage in estate planning compared to those who had not.

However, that same survey found that 67% of Americans still have no estate plan.

Make wishes known for organ donation

Make wishes known for organ donation

The organ and tissue donation process is unfamiliar to a lot of us. Some people may not even know they are registered donors.

Understanding the law and how it is implemented is important.

The first time many of us heard of choices about organ donation was at the DMV. More than 90% of individuals surveyed across the country stated that they registered their donation decision through their local DMV.

A pink dot on your license shows that you are an organ donor. That information is also forwarded to Donate Life California Registry.

Your Advanced Health Care Directive (AHCD) is another common way to designate you would like to, or chose not to, be an organ donor. Many of us have completed an AHCD as part of our will or trust. 

Celebrities’ end-of-life issues offer lessons on what to do

Celebrities’ end-of-life issues offer lessons on what to do

There comes an age when you begin to hear with increased frequency of the medical challenges or deaths of celebrities you loved growing up. It’s a harsh reminder of our mortality.

Because the stories of these deaths are so widely disseminated, they can also serve as cautionary tales about later life challenges and planning to ensure your own wishes are followed when you die.

The best example of this is Joan Rivers, who lived into her 80s with vibrancy, zest and attitude. Her death was sudden and unexpected. She died from “therapeutic complications” as a result of surgery.

As a comedian, she made many jokes through the years about her death.

Rivers was very close to her daughter, Melissa, and her grandson, Cooper, and before her death she made sure they knew they would survive her loss and go on to live full lives.

Planning for pets if you can’t be there for them

Planning for pets if you can’t be there for them

My husband and I did some “just in case” planning recently before an upcoming trip. We asked our trusted pet sitter and friend if she would be willing to care for our dog should anything happen to us. We made sure she realized it might be for just a short while but could also be long-term.

Fortunately for us, she said yes.

Each year millions of animals are placed in shelters due to the illness or death of their owners. Fewer than 20 percent of seniors who are pet owners have made legal or financial provisions for the care of their pet should something happen to them.

Adding to those facts, 52 percent of all the people over age 75 in the U.S. live alone. Many of them have dogs, cats or other pets sharing their lives.

If something happens to them, there is no spouse or partner to take over.

In the confusion that ensues after an illness, accident or death, the senior’s pet may get lost in the shuffle.