Gifts of Amazing Grace

Grace GoldsteinAs this month began, I lost my wonderful, vibrant mother who was 93 years young.  Known to her friends in Sun Lakes, Arizona as “Amazing Grace,” she was active in her synagogue and her community, devoting time and effort to many worthy causes.

As her health was rapidly declining, she would ask again and again,  “Is everything in order?” – wanting to make sure that upon her passing the burden on me would not be too great.

Our firm had prepared an estate plan for her, but my mom went beyond that.  We provide our estate-planning clients with a form to “List the People to Be Notified.”  My mom provided six pages of names, addresses and phone numbers, logically categorized with captions like “My  Family,” “Henry’s [my stepfather’s] Family,” “Manny’s [my father’s] Family,” “Doctors,” etc.  She prepared an outline that told me the exact location of important papers and family heirlooms and the significance of them.  She had me visit her apartment so she could show me the location of these papers and items.  And as I began the bittersweet process of parceling out her treasures both in value and otherwise to her friends and members of our family, I am thankful that she put so much time and effort not only in the directions of who would get what, but also how to find what they would get.

But she also put effort into two items of her estate plan which during her last illness provided direction and gave me comfort that I was honoring her wishes as best I could.  Her health-care power of attorney authorized me to make decisions about her medical care when she was unable to do so, to work with her doctors to give her the best chance to recover from her illness and provide her with as much comfort as we could when it became clear that she would not.  And her living will meant that when I reached a difficult decision point, I could proceed knowing that I was following her wishes.  All these were gifts of amazing grace.

I urge you to take steps to have a health care power of attorney and living will prepared.  They can reflect your personal, unique religious and ethical beliefs and positions. However they are drafted, they should be complete and properly executed.  Hymson Goldstein & Pantiliat, PLLC is ready to assist you with preparing these critical documents. They will be a gift of amazing grace to your family.

For more information, please click here to read Grace’s Obituary.

Written by Attorney David B. Goldstein,

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