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Long term care planning not just for Kent seniors

Facing up to our own mortality presents a challenge at any stage of life and, unfortunately, many of us cling to the idea that we can put off making plans for incapacity until we reach our elder years. Fortunately, most Kent residents will have the good fortune of aging into their golden years before it falls upon loved ones to carry out their end-of-life wishes. Unfortunately, as the story of one paralegal illustrates, some of us may need to rely others to make difficult decisions long before anyone expects.

After spending years assisting attorneys and clients with the preparation of advance directives, the paralegal and her attorney husband knew firsthand how valuable long term care planning documents can be in the event of an unexpected tragedy. That experience served the paralegal well as she faced her own personal tragedy when her husband suffered a heart attack at age 54 due to an undiagnosed congenital condition.

As anyone would, the paralegal struggled through grief at her unexpected loss, but her husband's advance directive helped alleviate some of the emotional burden. She says that she knew exactly what her husband wanted thanks to the plans they had made together years before his untimely death.

Although it can be difficult to sit down with a loved and work through your individual wishes when the worst case scenario becomes reality, documents such as a living will, healthcare directives and a directive to physicians are an absolute necessity in order to make sure your requests are heard and met. Making the decision to start the conversation may be the most difficult part of planning for the end of life. A compassionate and competent attorney can make certain that those wishes are set forth in instruments that will meet the requirements of the law in order to make sure that legal complications do not add to the burdens of loved ones' grief.

Source:, "Advance care planning," Melissa Smith, Jan. 23, 2013

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