Do you really know who gets your insurance?
Most times, my editor's note is triggered by something I've written about for the issue.
This time, my topic was sparked by something that recently occurred within my family.
Those of you who have been reading my editor's notes for some time may have read about my dear aunt and godmother, Mary, and our decisions as she slipped further and further into the grip of Alzheimer's disease.
I'm saddened to report that my aunt passed away in early April. Though it had been years since she knew who we were, we'll still miss the sweet, happy person she had become.
And though her death removed some family concerns, it has raised other problems.
Hence the title of this piece.
I took over my aunt's affairs three years ago when my dad passed away after a swift and sad battle with Lou Gehrig's Disease, or ALS.
Because of my dad's rapid decline, and our concern that his affairs were all in order, I really didn't get to ask many questions about my aunt's things.
Thus, I've been sifting my way through her affairs ever since.
My aunt had moved into an assisted living facility with memory care about two years before my dad died, and though all the proper legal documents necessary to see to her immediate needs were in order -- she had granted my mom Power of Attorney to handle her financial and other affairs and she a Health Care Proxy and Living Will in place to handle any health questions -- I'm now discovering that many other important documents were never reviewed or updated.
In specific, we discovered that the beneficiaries of her insurance policies had not been updated to remove the names of loved ones who had predeceased her (in one case, a beneficiary had died years before my aunt's memory problems developed, and the instructions had never been changed).
We also had a bit of a panic locating a signed copy of her Last Will and Testament. I had unsigned copies, but that gave no one the power to proceed!
So far there haven't been any problems that I haven't been able to solve, but I have had some anxious moments trying to locate documentation to prove certain things.
So my plea to all of you, my readers, is to make sure that you've let more than one person know where your important papers are. And that you've given things a look-over since you've signed them. Believe me, your family will be very grateful one day.