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Seniors: Give your children the gift of advance planning

This is the time of the year that we are all searching for the "perfect gift" to give to our loved ones. The best gift that seniors can give to their children is to plan ahead for the inevitable.

This is the time of the year that we are all searching for the "perfect gift" to give to our loved ones. The best gift that seniors can give to their children is to plan ahead for the inevitable.

Failing to address the future only leaves our loved ones behind to cope with our lack of planning and forethought.

Take the time to sit down with your children and talk to them about your wishes, whatever they are. Have an open discussion about putting the proper documentation in place so that your affairs are in order.

There are three important documents that you should take care of: A power of attorney, an advance directive and a will. The person or persons that you select as your representative for implementing these documents just has to have the ability to follow through on your wishes and act in place of you if you are unable to do so yourself.

Who you select is a very important decision. You may want to appoint more than one person but just make sure if you do, they get along and are willing to work together for your benefit.

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A power of attorney is a legal document by which you give someone else the power to make decisions about what is done with your affairs during your lifetime; its power ends when you die.

A power of attorney can grant all authority to your representative (durable) or limit them to handling only financial matters like bill paying and investments (financial). You can consult a lawyer on this if you wish.

A will is a written plan for distribution of your assets and personal property after your death. You can attach lists to your will itemizing personal property such as jewelry, furniture, heirlooms, etc. if you wish.

Again consulting an attorney can be an excellent way to get good forms and advice so that your wishes are carried out the way you want them to be. This can also include instructions on your memorial services, and whether or not you want to be buried or cremated.

Advance directives or a "living will" as it is sometimes called, is a specific set of written directions to health care workers caring for you when you are unable to tell them personally; or you can appoint someone specific to make decisions for you when you are not able to do so.

Choosing a representative whose views are the same as yours, or someone who will make sure your wishes are fulfilled is important.

We have these forms available in our office and can help you fill them out if you wish. Contact me at my office at (320) 762-3047 for more information.

Finishing these three documents will lead you to feeling more relaxed and more confident about your own future. You loved ones will thank you wholeheartedly for taking the time to communicate your wishes with them and they will have the satisfaction of knowing that they are doing what you wanted when that time comes.

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It is the best possible gift that you can give your children this holiday season.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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Organizers hope to make this an annual event.
A new episode is released every Tuesday and Thursday, giving readers a brief look at the stories found in Wednesday's and Friday's papers.