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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Taking care of aging parents

One story I have in my book applies to so many of us in the sandwich generation. We are still taking care of our children, either at home or at college, and our parents are beginning to need our help, too. See if this story applies to you:

         " John is aging, his health is failing, and his children are very concerned about his living alone. What happens if John falls and a neighbor calls 911? Who would know what medications John needs or had taken that day?  Who would know that John is allergic to a medication that gives him shingles?  And what about that heart condition that John has and the medication he takes that thins his blood?  Would anyone know that John cannot have a blood transfusion due to this medication?" 

                    Planning, Preparing and Peace, Page 88

I often hear from adult children who have an aging parent living at home alone and about the fears the children have about these circumstances.  Their concerns are very real about what could happen in an emergency.

Fortunately, documenting medical information and making it available for emergency resonse teams, as well as other medical care providers, is an easy task to complete with the worksheets I designed with all of us in mind.  

Simple worksheets are located at the end of my book and will be available soon on-line from my website ( and were created with the idea that you would complete them based on your particular needs.  I'm sure you'll have other worksheets that you need that are not yet part of my collection - so if you have other ideas for worksheets, please be sure to let me know!

Taking care of aging parent is scary and difficult.  Please use my worksheets to help lesson your burden.  I spent many, many hours creating these worksheets so that should something happen, you will be as prepared as you can be.  

Until next time,


Need Help?

What I have found is that families that ask for my help sometimes know what they need to do (especially if they have read my book), but need someone to help them work through the steps anyway.  I'd love to help you with your planning and preparing, using my nine-step program as the backdrop.

Most of us have more than one of these steps already completed, and need help only with one or two steps.  Some of us need help with all of the steps!  Whatever your need, feel free to contact me through email at 

I have helped people over the phone, in person (Boulder/Denver area), and by email.  My fees depend on the help you need.

I look forward to hearing from you should you need help.

Until next time,


Why Plan and Prepare to find Peace?

It's funny, but I've never been asked this question, but it's a question I ask myself.  Why did I plan and prepare in case anything should happen to me?  My answer is always "My children."

I learned first-handedly how difficult it is to work through a medical emergency when you or the person you are caring for are not prepared.  I do not always wish to return my thoughts to these days, but for the sake of this blog, I will go back six years when my mother first became ill and passed a devastatingly long five months later.  We thought we had things in order for her when she signed a simple statement that said she did not want to be kept on life support.  Wow, was that ever a mistake! 

What does it mean, Not kept on life support?  Did she want procedures done that would not prolong her life, but would tell the doctors what's going on inside of her so that we could make medical decisions for her?  How long did she want to be on medications once it was determined she was in her last few weeks?  That simple form the hospital gave us did not cover either of these questions and caused major disruption within our family. 

That experience woke me up and fast. 

After my mother passed, I took a hard look at my own will and medical declarations.  I had a will but it did not cover what my wishes were regarding how my children would be taken care of.  Nor did it have the right guardians and agents in it.  I made earlier decisions on diplomacy, rather than who would rear my children as I would.  When my mother passed, I set a task for myself to get a real will that covered my children based on our lives at that time, and not in the past. 

I know that my current durable medical power of attorney (my wonderful sister-in-law, Jean) will take care of business for me when I am not able to.  I have shared with her what I want to happen and there will be limited decisions on her part when I am unable to communicate my wishes.   The same is true with my durable financial power of attorney (my wonderful niece, Sandy Kay). 

Do I have everything organized and ready should something happen. Not a chance!  I live a very busy life as a single mom of two active teenagers and I love every minute of this busy, sometimes hectic life, so things slip and don't get done.  But can my power of attorneys step in for me and take over fairly fast?  Definitely, yes.

Can you say the same?  What would happen should you be in an accident and unable to speak?  Who can step into your shoes (power of attorney) and tell the doctors what you want?  Who would take care of your children or dependents?  They are the real reason we all need to plan and prepare.  And once you are prepared, you will be able to let go and have peace, knowing your loved ones (and you!) are taken care of.
Until next time,


Step 1. Six Easy Steps to Finding the Right Estate Lawyer for You.

There are certain steps in my program that are very easy to follow, but I'll tell you right now, finding the right estate lawyer for you is not one of them.  This step takes time and careful evaluation so that you hire not just a run-of-the-mill, competent lawyer, but one that really, really works for you and your family. 

So how do you find this wonderful, perfectly-fit lawyer that is tailored-made for you?  Good question.  You can find a great lawyer by asking friends and family members who they use.  You can also find a great lawyer by luck...or you can follow my Six Easy Steps to Find the Right Estate Lawyer for You.  I sincerely recommend following my six easy steps, which are summarized below.

     1.  Obtain up to 10 Estate Lawyer's Names

          You'll notice I said, "up to" 10 names.  If you feel comfortable moving forward with the next five steps with only three names, go for it.  You can always come back and add more names, if you need to. 

          How do you find these names of reliable, competent lawyers?  Ask friends, family members, church leaders, your doctors, Legal Aid, the National Elder Foundation (, the ABA, and if all else fails, the Yellow Pages!

     2. Research Estate Lawyers

         Find our more about these lawyers such as the school they went to, the type of law the lawyer focuses in on, how long has the lawyer worked in estate planning, and  are your special needs met with this lawyer (such s English as a second language or elder law).  You can find this information from the internet, ABA, firm advertising, and by referrals.

     3.  Interview by Phone up to Five Estate Lawyers

         This is when the sweat hits the pavement...yes, sweat!  You have to call lawyers and interview them by phone to get a first impression on how they come across.  Would you be able to talk openly with them about personal and many times private matters?  What do you ask them?  Sample questions are found in my book's worksheets, located at the back of the book.  I will share a lot of information with you about my program in this blog, but sometimes you'll just have to go buy the book to work through the program!  This is one of those times.

      4.  Meet and Interview in Person 2-3 Estate Lawyers

         Yikes again!  In person interviews can be scary if you are not prepared.  However, because you will have questions already to ask (again, found in my book!), you will be able to move through these interviews with new found confidence.  You will understand what the heck the lawyer is saying because you will have read my book, Planning, Preparing and Peace, which helps explain basic legal jargon and puts everything into easy to understand terms.  A must read, if you ask me.

      5.  Select Your Estate Lawyer

         The worst is behind you after the interviews.  Now you compare the lawyers, using my handy-dandy comparison worksheet (yes, found in my book, along with the other worksheets mentioned above).  Who knew their stuff the best?  Who could you talk to easily?  And after all the analysis is done, you have the right to toss away all the criteria and analysis and go with the estate lawyer that made you feel the most comfortable.  That's really the most important, but to get here, you had to go through Steps 1-4 first.  Make a decision with confidence!

      6.  Hire Your Estate Lawyer

          Now you get to call your lawyer and start working with them on your will, medical declarations, and perhaps a trust or two.  The first step the lawyer will take is to have you complete a fee agreement, which explains what the lawyer will do for you and for how much.  Review this document carefully to make sure it is consistent with what the lawyer said during the interviews.  Once that is done, sign the fee agreement!  And celebrate as this is a huge step for anyone to complete!  

The lawyer will take it from here and it's all downhill for you.  You did a great job on finding your estate lawyer and you feel comfortable with the amount of money and the services you will receive because you took your time and followed the above six steps above.  Doesn't get any better than this!  Good job!

Until next time,


9-Steps to Peace

Below are my nine steps to plan and prepare so that you can find peace and know that your family is well protected should a medical emergency occur.  This is a great place to start with my program! I'll be blogging about each one of these steps in the near future so stay tuned and return often! 

Until next time,


1.      Confidently choose the right estate lawyer for your needs with Kay’s Six Easy Steps to Finding the Right Estate Lawyer for You.

2.      Work with an estate lawyer to create your will, and keep it updated.

3.      Work with an estate lawyer to create your medically related documents, such as your living will and medical durable power of attorney.

4.      Work with an estate lawyer to create your financial durable power of attorney.

5.      Review your life, health and long-term care insurance to ensure adequate, affordable insurance coverage that will best protect you and your loved ones.

6.      Document your medical information, using Kay’s worksheets, to ensure you receive the best medical care possible.

7.      Put it all together at home by organizing essential documents and worksheets for easy access and use.

8.      Communicate your medical and financial wishes to your loved ones, agents and executor.

9.     Complete an annual review of your documents and worksheets, updating any changes that occurred during the year.