Life Advice



Ask Amy: Sister wants elder to make estate plans

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Concerned: Yes, you should attempt to speak to your sister about this. It might be best not to overwhelm her with estate planning, but do encourage her to appoint a health care proxy as a start.

Given that you are savvy, well-prepared, and substantially younger than your sister, might you be the right person to take this on?

My home state has health care proxy forms and very easy to understand instructions on the state’s government website. A directive can be simply worded or very detailed. You will need two witnesses but (in my state) it is not necessary to have it notarized.

Do a search for the state your sister lives in, discuss the forms with her, and if she would like you and you are willing, fill the forms out with her and notify her children of her decision. She can always change her mind later.

Dear Amy: My grandmother was married and widowed four times. Her resting place remains unmarked because the family had a very ugly argument about what should go on her headstone.

It has been 20 years now. All of her children have passed away.


I would like to put a nice headstone up for her, but have no idea what to put on it.

She had children with the first two husbands, so I do think that it might be appropriate to use all of her names. What do you suggest?

– Wondering

Dear Wondering: It is such a good thing for you to finally mark your grandmother’s gravesite.


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