Who on Earth to Ask??? 

If you followed the last five months, you know you should find another person or persons to act as your proxy for health care, serve as power of attorney, and as executor or personal representative. This is admittedly not an easy thing and I cannot do the topic justice in the space I have to write.

To make things worse, it is recommended that you appoint a backup person as well! So ideally you may need to find 3 or 4 folks to help you out. The person who can be compassionate with you and also be firm with medical staff may not be the best person to keep tabs on your finances or close out your estate. However, the person with your power of attorney may also be your personal representative after your death.

Let me list some characteristics to think of when you are considering who to ask to serve your needs. My hope is that you can mentally review the list and identify people who match, whether they are family, friends, children of friends, or legal or banking staff. ? Trustworthy and loyal to you and your needs, responsible ? Persistent and resourceful, a good communicator ? Financially literate, to match the complexity of your finances ? Younger than you and in reasonably good physical and mental health

The ideal? It may be a responsible child who lives near you, can get along with the siblings, has a good head on his/her shoulders… another typical option is your partner or spouse. BUT – what if your child is not as capable as you would like? What if your partner is in the first stages of dementia? Then keep looking…

A reminder - legal aid for low-income seniors may be available through the Hampshire Elder Law Program, 413-586-8729, or Community Legal Aid, 413-584-4034. We are also fortunate to have many knowledgeable elder attorneys in the area. Good luck,

Jean O’Neil, TRIAD committee member 413-268-2228, jeanoneilmass@gmail.com