A Resource Guide to Successful Long Term Planning

Putting your legal affairs in order will give you peace of mind and make sure your wishes are followed. Think about what you want while you have the time to think through the options clearly. You should put your wishes in writing, just in case you cannot speak for yourself or lose the ability to make decisions for yourself.

"We both have strong feelings about what type of treatments we would want, but we never bothered to put those wishes in writing. Now that we have all of the necessary legal documents, our children and our doctors won't have to guess about what we want and don't want in case we can't speak for ourselves."

Steps you can take now

� Review all legal documents that are more than five years old to make sure they still express your wishes and meet your needs. These papers should be kept in one convenient place.

� Make sure you have a living will, durable power-of-attorney for health care or health care proxy.

� Find a lawyer in your area who can help you. Ask about the fees for a consultation and preparation of the documents that you need.

� If you live in a community with a law school, find out if there is a free legal clinic for seniors or contact your local community legal aid.

Visit www.aoa.gov. Select �Area Agencies on Aging.�

Call your local Area Agency on Aging to find out if your state has any legal services to help you. Look under �Aging� or �Human Services� in the local government blue pages of the phone book for the number. The Eldercare Locator (1-800-677-1116), a toll-free information line, can also give you this number.


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