No will? Free seminars will get you started

Many people haven’t prepared their most essential legal documents – a will, power of attorney and advance directives for finances and healthcare – which puts spouses or families in the position of potentially making critical decisions without the expressed wishes of their loved ones.

To help with that shortcoming, Pierce County Aging and Disability Resources, a division of county government, is sponsoring a free seminar on topics such as placing property in a trust, written instructions (advance directives) about future medical care, and designating another person as power of attorney for healthcare and/or finances.

The information will be offered on:

  • March 14 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Sumner branch of Pierce County Library System, 1116 Fryar Ave.
  • March 18 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Pierce County Sound View Building, 3602 Pacific Ave. in Tacoma.
  • March 22 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Parkland-Spanaway branch of Pierce County Library, 13718 Pacific Ave. S.
  • March 23 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the University Place branch of Pierce County Library, 3609 Market Place W.

The presenter will be Jonete Waters Rehmke, a lawyer and member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.

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

Van Valkenburg noted that Forbes magazine has reported that 51 percent of Americans 55 to 64 years old don’t have wills. Worse, he said, 62 percent of 45 to 54-year-olds — and 67 percent of women that age — haven’t drafted wills. The figures are similar for powers of attorney and advance directives. 

Additional information on the county-hosted seminars is available at 253-798-4600.