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Make memories now and take simple steps to protect your future.

Written by Corinne Heggie for the Estates Made Easy column published by the Glenview Daily Herald

Friends, I am a proud townie. But for stints in Ft. Hood, Texas, and Edina, Minnesota, during my father's service in the United States Army and later in Champaign, Urbana for college, Glenview has been home. For any curious readers, the pros outweigh the cons when you decide to raise a family in your hometown. "Hug the Bear!" Isn't that the rally cry of 60025 and 60026?

Truthfully, it is at the intersection of memories ade in my youth and those made with my family where pure joy is found. On May 12, 2019, I arrived at one such intersection at Our Lady of Perpetual Help's altar.

I cried when Father Boland blessed our family before my youngest son received his First Communion. Countless are the memories of Masses celebrated and sacraments made in OLPH's church with Sister Paulanne ever watchful from the sacristy.

Naturally, some memories are easier to recall than others. The less than subtle skirmishes between siblings during a long mass, the wonder of baptism, and the solemnity of 6:30 a.m. mass in Our Lady Chapel. All these memories served equally as the backdrop against which unadulterated grace flooded the church and consumed me at First Communion. To this day, my heart fills when I think about that day. I pray the memory never escapes me.

Why this talk of memories?

Memories remain etched in our minds when our ability to remember them falters. Time and use will unstring our minds. Fractures will appear. It is inevitable.

Then, perhaps slowly at first, precious memories evade our recall. Eventually, the mail is not opened, bills are not paid, the dog may not be fed, and purchased groceries may spoil.

For some, rituals are gradually forgotten, hardly noticeable to friends and family. For others, it is a sudden decline acutely apparent to all.

For the young and healthy readers, it is uncomfortable to move into this head space. Yet, my young and healthy friends, now the invitation is to ignore the tune that plays in your head: "I'm healthy, this won't happen to me. I've got plenty of time to plan."

This may in fact be true. Yet this mindset tempts fate especially when you can so easily remove uncertainty now should memory loss find you tomorrow or twenty years from now. How?

Any person who is at least 18 years old can sign powers of attorney. The powers of attorney allow an individual to name a trusted adult friend or family member to make decisions about finances, property, and health care if that individual is unable to make decisions about these critical daily activities for himself.

If you trust two adults, name them both so if one cannot help, there is another trusted adult on standby. Make sure your powers of attorney will not be challenged by partnering with an attorney to prepare and understand the documents.

If you are not moved to sign your own powers of attorney, then have a conversation with family members, regardless of age, about the importance of having powers of attorney in place now to avoid confusion and stress later.

For once a physician notes cognitive decline, a person's ability to sign powers of attorney to help himself is likely compromised.

Continue to make memories in town, out of town, with family and with friends, but take the time to reflect on how the simple step of signing a power of attorney can protect you before fond memories may be forgotten.

Corinne Cantwell Heggie is a principal of the Wochner Law Firm LLC in Northbrook. Corinne helps people avoid asset loss, court battles and taxes, with wills, trusts and powers of attorney. Corinne lives in Glenview with her husband and law partner where her family is active in sports, ministries that support women and children in crisis, and Boy Scouts.

See the published version of the article below:

Estates July 22 20210722_DH_NI4_CK007
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