Parents, you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.

Or just as likely, we’ve got questions and you’ve got answers.

Challenge: Taking Care of YOU

Preparing for When I'm Gone

Vote up!
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email this article


They say life comes full circle. We dedicate our lives to raising our children and once we grow old, it becomes their responsibility to take care of us. I never want to be a burden to my kids. I don’t want them to feel obligated to visit me, take me to doctor’s appointments, or care for me in the event that I can’t care for myself. I don’t think any parent wants to feel helpless in the eyes of their offspring.

I consider myself a pretty put together woman. I’ve accomplished a lot in my life and I have pride. This pride means that I won’t allow anyone to feel sorry for me as I age. I don’t want pity or charity. I know, this probably sounds stubborn, but those are my wishes. And this is how I’m preparing to make the road easier and less stressful for my children.

I Have a Will

I think having a will at any age is important, though my children don’t seem to agree. All I can do is take care of myself and so, I have a last will and testament in place that clearly outlines what I want done with my belongings, finances, and my home when I’m no longer of this Earth.

My grand kids will receive many of my things. The girls will get my jewelry and furs and the young men will inherit some of their grandfather’s old hunting knives and paintings. I want my house sold, with the profit being split between my two children. I’ve seen too many siblings torn apart over the death of a parent and I will do everything I can to make sure that doesn’t happen.

My Finances Are Squared Away

In addition to my will, I’ve done my fair share of financial planning. I’ve named my son as the power of attorney. He’s the oldest and has his own finances pretty squared away. But I hope to not leave behind much debt for him to worry about.

My credit cards are nearly paid off, I own my home, and don’t have any outstanding debts. I don’t want a funeral. I would like to be cremated and divided among the family members. I do want a nice urn, which shouldn’t cost my family too much money. I have two life insurance policies in place, with my son being the beneficiary. Those should help cover these expenses. The last thing I want is for my death to turn into a hassle for my children. They will be morning my death, they don’t need to worry about paying my bills too!

I Have an Advanced Medical Directive

Though my son is power of attorney, I’ve named both my children in my advanced directive. This means that if there are any medical decisions to be made and I am unable to make them myself, my kids will decide together on what course of action to take. I don’t worry about this because my children are very close and get along very well. I also have a DNR. I am not a religious person but I don’t want anyone keeping me alive with machines and medications. When it’s my time, it will be my time and I’m okay with that.

I’m Organized

I know what my children need when it comes time to settle my estate, and I’ve gathered all of those documents together. They are in a safe place where my children know where to find them. I think this is extremely important. They may need things like the title to my car, my bank account information, my tax returns, and other ridiculous paperwork that no one thinks is important or necessary to keep until it is!

Why I’m Doing This

I know my kids sometimes think I am crazy and ask me why I think of these things. What they don’t realize is that I’m doing this for them. A death in the family is extremely difficult to deal with, without the added stress of sorting things out.

So, I guess as much as the role of caretaker shifts from the parents to the children as time goes on, it never really does shift completely. Even as I face my own mortality, I’m taking the necessary steps to protect and provide for my kids. A mother’s work is never done.

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.