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Preparing for the Loss of a Parent

Update Date: Jan 02, 2020 09:42 AM EST
Preparing for the Loss of a Parent
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Discussing your parent's final wishes is emotional and can be stressful. However, this is the first vital step required to prepare for their passing. It will inform many of the other steps that you need to take, which is why it's crucial to discuss their needs and wants. There is important information that you need in order to complete paperwork and handle all relevant matters after your parent's passing. Once you have open communication about their needs and wishes, you can gather this information and take appropriate action to ensure that your parent's wishes are respected.

Make Final Arrangements

Take your parent to meet with after-life service professionals. This can ensure your parent has peace of mind about what will happen after they pass. Whether your parent opts for cremation or burial, they can be assured that trusted professionals will transport their body appropriately. They can also take comfort in the fact that you will not be forced to make these decisions on your own after they pass.

Cremation or Burial

Professionals such as the team at Heritage Cremation Provider offer respectful cremation services. Taking your parent to meet with their staff can be beneficial. This ensures your parent has all the information needed to make an informed decision about their after-life plans, be it cremation or a different option. You can be certain you're respecting their wishes and honoring them with the appropriate after-life decisions. 

Funeral Services

Your parent may or may not wish to have a funeral service after their passing. It can be helpful if a parent expresses that they do not want a service in writing so that potential conflict with other family members will be avoided. By discussing these options in advance, your parent can consider if they wish to have a service at a church or a funeral home and make decisions about who will officiate. They can also choose music for the service and determine who will be allowed to speak.

Make Legal Arrangements

Consulting an attorney is one of the most important steps you can take before your parent's passing. There are many legal factors that impact a person's medical care after they pass, as well as what happens to their estate. Securing the services of family law attorneys who specialize in end of life legal matters will ensure you and your parent have all legal matters are in order.

Living Will

A living will ensures that your medical wishes are respected when you are still alive. This can ensure you are not resuscitated under certain conditions. A Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) is similar. Your parent may not wish to have their body kept alive with machines after hope for a meaningful recovery has passed. These documents help ensure the legal protections are in place to respect their decisions after their medical care. 

Power of Attorney

Your parent may reach a point where they are unable to make decisions for themselves. In situations like this, having power of attorney can ensure you are able to make effective choices for their medical care and living arrangements. For example, in the event a parent is in a serious accident and has suffered a traumatic brain injury, the person who has power of attorney can make financial decisions on their behalf. They may be authorized to sell or cash out assets to pay for medical treatment or long-term care. 

Last Will and Testament

The amount of time needed to settle your parent's estate is impacted by several factors. It will take much longer to handle their affairs if they do not have a will. Without a will, a judge may make the final decisions about how the estate is divided. Your and your parent can be confident their wishes will be respected and the process will be as smooth as possible if a will outlining what they want to happen to their money and belongings after they pass is in place.

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