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Legal Counsel: Planning helps families deal with end-of-life issues

Cynda C. Ottaway: Suggestions to avoid problems when a loved one is dying.
By Cynda C. Ottaway, For The Oklahoman Modified: June 9, 2014 at 11:36 am •  Published: June 8, 2014

At some point most of us will face the difficulty of helping a loved one who is dying. Certain actions taken in advance may make the situation easier for all concerned.

Durable powers of attorney

Each adult, despite age or health, should appoint one or more individuals to serve as an agent to make decisions concerning health care and property rights. These powers may range from simple tasks such as paying utility bills or helping with medical appointments to major decisions such as selling homes or making end-of-life health care decisions. An agent may be given powers which are either immediate or “springing” meaning the powers do not come into existence until incapacity. The agent should always be someone who is trustworthy to ensure the power is not misused.

Inventory and location

of assets

A detailed list of assets and where they are located should be prepared and updated regularly. Provide a hard copy of the asset list to your agent and store an electronic version. If you access accounts online, maintain a secured list of user names for each account along with the passwords. You must update this list regularly as many accounts require periodic changes of the password.

Document location

Prepare and update estate- planning documents and provide the storage location of the originals to the person who will be in charge of handling matters upon disability or death.

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