Dear Amy: My older sister is 75 and single.
She has three adult children in their 50s. I am eight years younger than her.
My sister has always avoided growing old and seems to deny mortality.
When I visited the family a few months ago for her 75th birthday, my niece told me that my sister had made no arrangements for her death or unexpected illness.
She has no will, power of attorney, advance medical directive, or burial or cremation instructions. Attempts by my niece and her siblings to discuss all this with my sister are quickly dismissed. My sister refuses to talk about it.
Last year I shared with my sister my general estate plan, including that I have a will, power of attorney, trust and advance medical directive, and gave the names of my appointees .
I had hoped that sharing such information might inspire her to do similar planning. No chance. My niece is worried that she and her siblings will end up with the bag making medical and other critical decisions for their mother with no idea what she would want, and that all three siblings might not be together. deal.
It’s not about monetary inheritance, because my sister doesn’t have a lot of money. My niece asked me to try to influence my sister to prepare at least an advance medical directive and burial or cremation instructions.
Should I stay out of it or get involved – and if so, how?
– Worried Sister
Dear concerned: Yes, you should try talking to your sister about it. It might be best not to overwhelm her with estate planning, but encourage her to appoint a health care attorney to begin with.
Given that you are savvy, well-prepared, and much younger than your sister, could you be the right person to take on this task?
My home state has very easy to understand health care power of attorney forms and instructions on the state government website. A directive can be simple or very detailed. You will need two witnesses but (in my state) it is not necessary to have it notarized.
Research the state your sister lives in, discuss the forms with her, and if she would like you and you are okay with it, fill out the forms with her and let her children know of her decision. She can always change her mind later.
Dear Amy: My grandmother was married and widowed four times. His resting place remains unnamed as the family had a very nasty argument over what should go on his tombstone.
It’s been 20 years now. All of his children are deceased.
I would like to put a nice tombstone for her, but I don’t know what to put on it.
She had children with the first two husbands, so I think it might be appropriate to use all of her names. What do you suggest?
Dear amazed: It’s such a good thing that you’re finally marking your grandmother’s grave.
My answer assumes that your grandmother’s four husbands are not buried in this particular family plot.
If I did that, I would include her full birth name, as well as her final last name (assuming she legally took her last husband’s last name). I would also include the names of his children, if permitted.
For example: Mary Besemer Clark Jones (dates of birth and death)
Beloved mother of Stacy Randolph Carter (dates of birth and death)
And Steven Alden Fox (dates of birth and death)
The cemetery will have guidelines and suggestions. Some cemeteries will only allow names of people on headstones if those people are actually buried in that plot. Be sure to check with the cemetery director before making your decision.
Dear Amy: Several years ago, you suggested a woman “befriend her fears,” name them “Stan,” and then tell Stan to “get lost.”
Like everyone else, I have my problems. Most destructive to me is my tendency to live in the past and hold grudges.
Whenever I start reliving negative events from my past, I tell my “Stan” that I just don’t have time for him right now, and then deliberately distract myself, like you said.
THAT WORKS! Immediately and easily!
I’m much happier now that I’ve befriended Stan.
– A friend of Stan’s
Dear friend: I remember writing this tip, and while I can’t find the original column, I’m so glad you befriended your very own “Stan”.
To verify previous columns from Ask Amy
©2022 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.