I need resource to help MIL/my wife get "affairs in order"

  1. Allnurses community,

    My MIL suffered a mild stroke last week. I'm going through the process of trying to prepare my wife for the stages of the grieving process(MIL post CABG,DM,now stroke/80 y/o) and I've realized that in order to help prepare everyone involved to cope with the stress later, I need to help them consider legal options.

    My MIL has some family heirlooms, but there are virtualy no personal finances to consider or debt to reconcile. There are no directives, durable powers, or other measures to protect the dignity of her impending passing however. I have knowledge of those kinds of things existing but I don't know where to look exactly or what to look for.

    My wife is always giving me a hard time about spending too much time on Allnurses(no such thing!) so let's show her what a great support system we are.

    Links,advice,anecdotal reports,questions................no such thing as useless information to the truly ignorant:kiss

    A loving husband and understanding nurse in training.
  2. Visit Peeps Mcarthur profile page

    About Peeps Mcarthur

    Joined: Jul '01; Posts: 1,349; Likes: 16


  3. by   sunnygirl272
    if she is in the hosp still,ask to speak with a social workder,tehy should be able to assist with getting the forms together...
    health care proxy....
    advance diwectives...
    and a will..
    does she have a lawyer?
  4. by   NurseDennie
    The thing is, if she's lucid, you need to get these things done quickly, while she still is.

    She'll need to have a will. I can't tell you how important that is. Also a durable power of attorney for health care. You'll need a lawyer for the will but the dpa can be done and witnessed by two people NOT related to your mil and NOT working in healthcare (e.g., not you, not your wife, etc.) and then it will have to be notarized. I say "then" but really it has to be notarized when it's signed - that's what the notary is saying - that the document was signed in front of him/her.

    If your mil is not lucid, not of sound mind, then you're just up a creek. She can't make those decisions about her health care, and she can't create legal documents like the will and POA.


  5. by   sjoe
    Ditto to the above advice.
  6. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    I wanted to add that my MIL is in Kansas and we are in Maryland. We will not be able to visit the social services dept(if that little hospital has one). I would have hoped that someone would have a link or know of a .org or something for info.

    I could just do a google search, but figured out of so many members someone would deal with this on a daily basis and be able to focus my search.

    Nurse Dennie, Sunnygirl,
    Thanks for the input.
  7. by   Nurse Ratched

    Try this site. I'm sure it's not cheap to have an area professional work on this, but I'm sure it would be worth it to have all your ducks in a row.
  8. by   sjoe
    1) I would bet that hospital has a telephone, even if it IS in Kansas.

    2) you might also check out a special program that the AARP has called "Life Answers" to see if it would be useful in this instance. You can phone them at 1.877.217.7800 or check out their web site at www.aarp.org/life

    3) the US Gov't has an aging website (no pun intended) at www.aoa.dhhs.gov where you might find some useful links as well.
    Last edit by sjoe on Nov 7, '02
  9. by   aus nurse
    This will probably be no help at all seeing it is advice from Australia!!
    Following on from what Dennie said:
    In this country, if you are not of sound mind then then the Guardianship Board investigates and often a relative is made guardian with power over decisions and finances. In the event of there being no appropriate relatives then the Board itself will act as guardian protecting that person's interests.
    Just thought it may be worth looking into to see if there is anything similar there, if your mil is not of sound mind.
    Good on you for getting prepared. Thoughts to you and your wife and mil.
  10. by   NRSKarenRN
    Partership for caring

    It's all about talking:
    This booklet introduces you and your loved ones to the issues surrounding end-of-life decision making. It's all about talking- talking to your loved ones about your health care preferences; talking to your doctor about your options so that you can make informed decisions. Talking before a crisis can help you and your loved ones prepare for any difficult decisions related to health care at the end of life.


    Advance Directives for All Fifty States

    A VISION FOR Better Care at the End-Of-Life
    English and Spanish version available

    Resource Guide Index on these topics:
    Advance Care Planning
    Funeral Planning
    General End-of-Life Care
    Grief and Bereavement
    Long Term Care


    Aging with Dignity

    Five Wishes This advance directive document helps you express how you want to be treated if you are seriously ill and unable to speak for yourself by looking to a person's medical, personal, emotional and spiritual needs.



    PBS Series: Before I Die

    BEFORE I DIE: MEDICAL CARE AND PERSONAL CHOICES premiered on April 22, 1997. The program explores the medical, ethical, and social issues surrounding end-of-life care in America today. This Web companion piece features original reporting (REAL LIFE STORIES, SIDEBARS) by health writer Janet Firshein, 1995 Kaiser Media Fellow.



    is one of the largest Web sites on the Internet with international resources

    We have news reports going back to our inception: January 1995. We have more than 4,000 books on sale in our Life's End Bookstore. We currently host over 100 MB of files dealing with every aspect of "end-of-life" issues and problems.

  11. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    Thanks for taking the time to post all those links!

    Thank you for taking the time to post your links.

    Aus Nurse, NurseDennie, Sunnygirl272,

    Thank you for taking the time to post some advice.

    We've all seen the terminally ill wasting away on a vent while the family desparately tries to figue out what the ill family member would want and feeling guilt over not having the courage or the legal right to pull the plug.

    The site that NRSKaren posted a link to called Partnership for Caring has all the information you will need to take care of that problem NOW. The site lists legal requirements and updates to those requirements plus a lot of other issues surrounding end of life.

    It's free
    It's downloadable and instantaneous.
    You will have the forms and the procedure in a way that is binding for your state.

    I was so impressed that I made a donation ...............exactly what I needed to help all the family members cope.

  12. by   sjoe
    Good news, Peeps.

    Thanks for letting us know what worked for you. All of us now have more information for future reference. Karen came through yet once again (though the aging with dignity link did not work).

    Best wishes.
    Last edit by sjoe on Nov 7, '02
  13. by   NRSKarenRN
    Glad i could help, Peeps---thought that site would help.

    Please other allnurses members, please stop and view the above sites. Your loved ones need to know YOUR wishes.
    It makes decision making so much easier.
  14. by   nell
    Good luck Peeps. Sorry I couldn't help. If anyone ever needs help on how to save/preserve things after a house fire or how to figure out what was in the house for insurance purposes - that's the disaster I can help with...