My dog Frankie is the light of my life. This dog not only published an article in the Kirkland Reporter back in 2010 under his own name (admittedly with a little help from his mom), he pretty much enchants everyone he meets. If you imagine a miniature Golden Retriever, only fluffier, with a constantly wagging flag of a tail and perma-grin on his dogface, well, you’ve got Frankie.

A couple weeks ago, Frankie was running up our wooden deck steps and he slipped. Unfortunately, he landed face first into the next step up. It wasn’t pretty, and I figured he was going to lose a tooth or two. He was his otherwise chipper self, eating and playing tug of war with his toys, but we went to the vet anyway.

At the appointment they confirmed that some teeth needed to come out. But it wasn’t just a couple. He seriously messed up his grill. After a day-long procedure he came out just fine, though he rather resembles my Grandpa Otto who, when we were young, frequently entertained my siblings and me by shooting his dentures out of his mouth as he gave us a gummy smile. It made us squeal in equal parts horror and delight every time.

So why am I telling you about my dog and his face? When I was told about the condition of his mouth, I was horrified. I was concerned about how he’d handle the procedure. I hated the fact he’d be in pain for two or three days. One thing I didn’t freak out about? Money. I’ve set aside savings for any Frank-related medical emergencies over the years because these things happen over time. Pets or people, if we’re prepared for unfortunate or tough life circumstances, we’ve done the hard work in advance and avoid having to make tough choices under duress.

Admittedly, detailing my dog’s dental drama as an allegory is a stretch, but what I’m really talking about here is planning for unknown futures, and the importance of having your legal and financial houses in order for those you love. I’ve gone through the process of creating a Living Will, and while it wasn’t as easy as providing for my dog’s future, insuring the financial and emotional well-being of our families is a necessity for all of us. Because all of us have different resources, needs, concerns, dependents and responsibilities, we need to make advance plans for the benefit of those who rely upon us. So where should we start?

 

  • A Will or Trust

 

It can’t be overstated: When you have a will, you spare your family undue stress over the long haul. It’s not a fun thing to think about, but it’s the responsible thing to do. You protect your family’s future, your financial assets, and your own piece of mind. This is a priority. If you don’t have one, let our Verity advisors help you start the process.

 

  • Guardianship

 

Do you have minor children? Have you named a guardian for them? If not, it’s time. And if you chose a guardian sometime back, is that person still the right choice? Keeping current with choices like these is an imperative when it comes to thinking about the future. Many people choose to review this, and other, choices on an annual basis.

 

  • Adult Children

 

If your adult children were to receive an inheritance, how should it be distributed? How do you do this fairly amongst multiple children, perhaps with differing needs and money management capabilities? Speak with a professional who can help you ask and answer the questions that will lead you to answers that minimize stress between siblings.

 

  • Health Care Directive

 

When you decide ahead of time how you want your medical care to be handled, you unburden family members who’d otherwise need to make decisions on your behalf. Further, you have control over your own future care, something most of us would prefer to have than not.

Admittedly this is just a jumping off point and there are many considerations when putting together your plan. What matters is that you make one with the input of a qualified professional to ensure your wishes now, and in the future, are upheld.

Alicia Diefenbach

My name is Alicia Diefenbach and I’m a Community Relations Specialist at Verity Credit Union.  I absolutely love my role at Verity!  I have the opportunity to explore the communities in which we’re located, reach out to organizations and individuals making these places dynamic, inviting places to live, and get involved with activities that support their well-being.

In my spare time I dote on my vegetable garden.  It still never ceases to amaze me that I can create my dinner out of dirt, some seeds, and cooperative weather.   I love my dog, Frank.  Also, I go to rock shows.  A whole lotta rock shows.

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