Free workshops address wills, power of attorney, advance directive

The saying goes, “Lack of preparation on your part does not require a crisis on my part.” Yet many Americans fail to prepare the most essential legal documents – will, power of attorney, and advance directives for finances and healthcare. Spouses and families are often left to make decisions without the expressed wishes of their loved one.

“Every day, people have tragic accidents or die unexpectedly,” said Aaron Van Valkenburg, manager of Pierce County Aging and Disability Resources.  “At that point, families start asking themselves what they should do and what their family member would want done.  Without specific documents at hand, aquestions will linger.”

To help people prevent such problems, Aging and Disability Resources, a program of Pierce County government, is sponsoring two live workshops  in August that will be offered online and by telephone. Here’s the schedule:

  • Aug. 13 at 7 p.m. Online: Telephone: 253-215-8782 or 888-788-0099. Webinar ID:  966 5341 7923
  • Aug. 15 at 10 a.m. Online: Telephone: 253-215-8782 or 888-788-0099. Webinar ID:  981 7972 6200.

The presenter for the workshops will be Linda Lysne, an attorney in estate and trust planning, probate and trust administration and elder law.

Forbes magazine reports that 51 percent of Americans 55 to 64 years old don’t have wills.  Further, 62 percent of those age 45 to 54 — and 67 percent of women that age — haven’t drafted wills.  It is also reported that 64 percent of the public in general doesn’t have a will. The percentages of people who have powers of attorney and advance directives reportedly are no better.

Creating a will and reviewing it regularly is sage advice, Van Valkenburg said. But more and more people are also deciding to place their property in a trust. Doing that depends on many personal factors, according to experts.

Equally important is to create advance directives, which are written instructions about future medical care in the event you are unable to express your medical wishes.  In addition, designating another person, or persons, as power of attorney for healthcare and/or finances takes careful thought and conversation.

No RSVP is required for the upcoming workshops.  A recording of them will be available after the events on the Aging and Disability Resources website ( Additional information is available at 253-798-4600.