By Michael Tetreault, Editor-in-Chief
It’s been said that ‘September is the new January!’
It’s a time when families, individuals, co-workers and more than likely your Patients set new goals to accomplish before the holiday’s and the New Year.
We’ve said quite often over the years that ‘Five words from a Doctor … mean more than fifty words about you.’ And when it comes to our Doctor, we should always lean-in, listen and head their advice.
So what if your Doctor sent you a friendly letter, a little reminder saying something like “Hey, if you want to sleep peacefully at night … check this ‘to-do item’ off your list. Your loved ones will thank you for it!”
Whether you are single, married, have children or not, everyone should prepare for their future to ensure it remains with your family.
Sadly, in our communities across the U.S. right now, more than 6/10 of the people [e.g. your Patients] probably have no clue where important documents are or have drafted updated healthcare POAs, living wills, or written a will at all.
As their Doctor and trusted guide in all things healthcare, you can help your patients today, tomorrow and in the next year … by reminding them to put this on their “to-do list.”
How To Set Up A Legacy Drawer
I know that if I got a friendly reminder on my Doctor’s letterhead wishing me well but also reminding me that I should have these documents updated or drafted and signed, I’d pay attention. We call it around here … a “Legacy Letter.”
And it’s as simple as this. If something happened to you tomorrow, how prepared is your loved one or spouse to cope and deal with the financial, banking, estate, insurance policies, etc., in the event of your untimely departure.
I know, no one wants to bring up these issues and talk about death. And, if you think that’s what you’re doing, you’re missing the point.
You’re not doing this for them. You’re job is to simply remind them that “Hey, if you want to sleep peacefully at night … check this ‘to-do item’ off your list. Your loved ones will thank you for it!”
And research is proving this to be true. Reuters Health said recently that only 37 percent of Americans have advanced directives for end-of-life care if they become seriously ill or unable to make health care decisions, according to a new analysis of recent research.
Caring.com states that While less than 25% of people surveyed have a will, 60% say that they think having a will is important. And while more than half of people recognize the importance of wills, our data shows that fewer people are thinking about estate planning than in 2019. They also cited these stats:
- The number of older and middle-aged adults with estate planning documents dropped by 20% and 25% since 2019, respectively.
- The number of adult Americans that have a will or another type of estate planning document decreased by nearly 25% since 2017.
The idea of a “Legacy Drawer” is not new.
However, as a trusted guide, healthcare navigator and local community Physician expert on all things health and wellness related … if you want to keep your Patients sleeping well at night and prepared for their future, simply reminding them each September or every January might be a good idea! You might even find that when the Patient/person walks into your exam room at their next appointment … they’ll thank you for the helpful reminder. And that is priceless!
How to Set Up Your Legacy Drawer
First things first: Make sure your legacy drawer is somewhere in your home. (It might even motivate you to clear out one of those pesky junk drawers you’ve been meaning to get to!)
What to Keep in Your Legacy Drawer
Once you have your legacy drawer cleaned out and ready for documents, grab a stack of file folders and labels. You’ll want to keep all your files organized and easy to add to and sort through. Here are the 11 documents we recommend you keep in your legacy drawer: