Chris Salvatore, 31, became close with Norma Cook, 89, over the last four years because they're neighbors in West Hollywood.
Norma was diagnosed with leukemia 10 years ago and has no immediate family in the area. (She divorced at 43 without any children.)
So when doctors said she had only a few months to live, Chris stepped up as power of attorney and caretaker for Norma. He even raised money to move her into his apartment so he could provide in-home care for Norma!
Sadly, Norma passed away on Feb. 15, but the story of Chris caring for her in the waning days of her life has captured people's hearts.
Read more: Cheapest and easiest ways to do a will
End-of-life financial discussion points
Maybe you've got an elderly loved one in your life. It could be a parent or another family member who is like a parent to you. Or it could be a neighbor like in Chris' case.
Very few people like to think about the end, but there's an uncontested 100% chance that we're all going to die someday. A little preplanning can go a long way in alleviating the burdens both financial and emotional on your loved ones.
If you're dealing with an aging or sick parent, having "the talk" is never easy. But it is necessary. So when you're ready to broach the topic, here are some pointers courtesy of Montana State University Extension.
- Do you have a will? If so, where is it located?
- Have you granted someone a durable power of attorney? If so, who has the power, and where is the document located?
- Have you written a power of attorney for health care? If so, who has the power, and where is the document located?
- Do you have a safe deposit box? Where is the box located and where is the key? Where is the list of contents?
- What is the location of essential personal papers — birth and marriage certificates, dissolution of marriage documents, Social Security and military service records?
- Where are life, health and property insurance policies kept?
- Have you made a list of investments (savings accounts, certificates of deposit, stocks and bonds, etc.)? What are the mailing addresses of the institutions that have the investments?
- Have you made a list of the personal and real property that you own? Where is the list located?
- Who are your financial advisors? What are their names and addresses?
- Have you developed a letter of last instruction? If so, where is it located?
- If you have a retirement program, is there a death benefit for survivors? If so, whom should the survivors contact?
- Do you have a living will?