As an estate planning attorney, I am passionate about helping people create peace of mind for themselves and their family in the event of the unthinkable. We often say “if I die … I want to be prepared. The operative word here is not IF, it’s WHEN. In the planning process, I laugh and try to keep this light, but we all will die at some point; it’s best to be ready. Welcome to my estate planning blog where I’ll share my insights on law and life.

My Welcome Story

My primary goals as a planning attorney are to help you feel at ease and comfortable with respect to how this the planning process happens, and for you to be educated as to how and why you are making a plan. Education and accessibility are the two major aspects of estate planning which I focus on to help people feel that they have control over this process.

I am especially passionate about what I call “planning for life” because the unthinkable happened to me even though I believed it never would. No, I didn’t die (haha). My life partner was seriously injured at work. The kind of injury that everyone believes would never happen to them, well it happened to me and to him and to our family.

Gerry fell at work eight years ago and suffered a traumatic brain injury from which he still is recovering. Gerry lost his language—both expressive and receptive, which is his major disability in addition to the loss of some executive functioning and use of his right hand and arm.  Over the last eight years, we have worked diligently to get Gerry to a place which we consider to be the ‘new normal’. He is no longer able to work but does his best to fill his day as a fine artist, painting in the art studio at our home.

What happened and how did this affect my attitude toward the necessity of estate planning: It was a normal day right before Christmas, I was going to an appointment when I received a call detailing that Gerry had fallen and to get to Mass General Hospital (MGH) as he was being med-flighted to the emergency department. I pulled my car over on Route 93 and called MGH. I asked for GPS directions, where to park and where to walk once I got to the hospital. When I arrived at the ED, I met a woman at the front podium and I told her who I was. The first question she asked me was “do you have a Massachusetts health care proxy for this man?”

Being as I came from a typical family with a father who was a contractor and we never had doors on our closets until he sold the house 25 years after he built it, one would think I would not have a healthcare proxy for Gerry. Despite the devastation, I was feeling at the moment, I smiled and said emphatically “yes I do.” She also asked for a copy of a financial power of attorney so that I could handle all the matters with his finances through the business office at the hospital.

The next day I brought the copies of all the documents that I had the which made the process so much easier. I needed the HCP (health care proxy) to make continuing decisions about his treatment, including his stay at Spaulding Rehab Hospital and later at an LTC (long-term care) facility. 

As an aside, a few years later a close friend’s husband suffered a stroke. When asked if she had a health care proxy the answer was no and sadly I had to help her file a petition with the probate court in order to have her appointed guardian so that she could make decisions on behalf of her husband. Did you know that you don’t have that right with respect to your spouse?

After having this happen to me, it’s my mission to help other people be ready and to know that you get through anything and have the documents prepared which are necessary to move forward with anything that life may throw at you. How can I help you? Just let me know. I’m here to answer your questions to secure your future.

For questions regarding any of the topics discussed in this blog, please contact me directly at [email protected].

Thank you for reading,
Suzanne Poitras