Senior Village Provides Information on Estate Planning

At the invitation of Esta Goldstein, Senior Village Co-Team Leaders Stephanie Thomas and Dick Schroeder discussed the Forms & Documents Team at a meeting of the Neurological Support Group.

Stephanie Thomas

While most people in SaddleBrooke were cozily ensconced in their homes on a rainy winter day, members of the Neurological Support Group braved the puddles to attend a mini-course on estate planning and health care directives presented by Senior Village Forms & Documents Team Co-Leaders Stephanie Thomas and Dick Schroeder.

With the help of flip chart notes, attendees were able to follow along as Stephanie discussed the services provided by team volunteers. Team members have visited more than 200 Senior Village homes to help members review their estate plans, fill in confusing forms, understand long-term care insurance, and navigate the first months of widowhood.

As word-of-mouth testimonials spread in SaddleBrooke, 11 volunteer advocates on the Forms & Documents Team are often called into action to explain the sought-after Planning Ahead handbook given to members. This resource serves three purposes: offers fill-in pages to record personal data for those who will handle your estate; explains legal/financial terms such as powers of attorney, beneficiary deeds, and much more; and guides surviving spouses through tasks after the death of a loved one.

One topic that was of particular interest to the attendees was understanding medical directives that must be signed by the patient’s doctor: the Physician Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment and the Prehospital Medical Care Directive. Attendees were surprised to learn that the Prehospital Medical Care Directive, signed by a doctor and printed on orange paper, is the only “Do Not Resuscitate” document that emergency personnel consult to determine whether to initiate resuscitation. If you are considering either of these documents, make an appointment to discuss them with your physician.

An important goal of these estate planning reviews is to help Senior Village members understand how to avoid settling an estate in probate court. Another goal is to ensure members have up-to-date medical directives, such as a health care power of attorney and living will.

Forms & Documents volunteer advocates have been rigorously trained to provide information on estate planning, yet they do not offer advice. The member takes responsibility for working with an attorney, if necessary, to update legal documents.

With all this information spinning in their heads, members of the Neurological Support Group headed home armed with handout pages and a better understanding of how to ensure that their legal and medical wishes are carried out when they can no longer speak for themselves. Stephanie’s parting words to the attendees were, “Prepare, plan, update, and communicate.”

For more information about the Support Group, contact Neurological Support Group President Esta Goldstein at 520-825-1181. To request a home visit from the Forms & Documents Team or to become a member of Senior Village, call 520-314-1042.