Big Canoe Wellness Collaborative to Present Three-Part Seminar Series on End-of-Life Planning

Source: Big Canoe Wellness Collaborative

When a death occurs or a health emergency strikes, loved ones experience stress or grief and often are overwhelmed. They shouldn’t have to worry about whether the necessary documents are in place to allow them to handle legal, financial and healthcare matters.

With that in mind, the Big Canoe Wellness Collaborative has organized a series of three presentations to ensure that you and your family are prepared for such contingencies.

The first presentation is in the Mountains View Room of the Clubhouse at 2 p.m. Monday, Oct. 23. Part II is at 2 p.m. Monday, Nov. 6. The third part will take place in spring 2024. For the full schedule and additional info, go to the Wellness Center website’s education page.

Wellness Collaborative board member Sharon McCoy, an attorney whose practice focuses on estate planning and elder law services, will be among those presenting at the seminars. Below, she answerd some questions about the sessions.

Q: What are the Pre-Plan or Family Crisis presentations from the Wellness Collaborative happening this fall and early winter?

This series is a call to action to encourage all residents of Big Canoe to provide their family with a plan instead of leaving them with a crisis.

Most of us are familiar with situations where folks don’t plan ahead for incapacity or death – and are without basic legal and medical documents. Too often, this failure to plan causes a crisis: a person had dementia and their family had to go to court for a guardianship because they didn’t have financial power of attorney; siblings couldn’t agree whether to remove a dying parent from life support and so the person just lingered because they didn’t have an advance directive for healthcare; a recent widow with stepchildren was understandably stressed because she didn’t know if her spouse had a will and what, if anything, she would inherit. These situations could have been avoided If these families had planned ahead.

Q: What will be covered in the first session?

The Oct. 23 seminar is designed to give a basic overview of these concepts as well as the legal and medical documents that will help simplify emergencies and avoid the need for court intervention. Robyn Hall, a social worker for Piedmont Plus 60 who has specialized in serving the senior population for nearly 20 years, will discuss the Georgia Advance Directive for Healthcare; Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR), and Physicians Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST).

I will use real-life stories from my law practice to illustrate the importance of having the medical documents, as well as HIPPA Authorization; Financial Power of Attorney; Last Will and Testament; and reasons to consider a Trust as part of your estate plan.

Retired physician Dr. Sandy Carter will add a professional medical perspective on the use of these documents as well as be able to speak to a person’s mental capacity to create them.

Q: What will be covered in the second session?

The Nov. 6 session is a make-and-take workshop. Dr. Carter and I will provide copies of the official Georgia Advance Directive for Health Care for each participant and will assist attendees in completing the document on-site. We will walk attendees through the various decisions to be made in the Advance Directive, including the selection of your healthcare agent; important post-death decisions regarding autopsy, organ donation and final arrangements for your body; life-support treatment options; and your nomination of a guardian if a court determines one is necessary. Our goal is that you leave with a fully executed and witnessed document setting forth your end-of-life wishes to give to your family and medical providers so that they are aware of your end-of-life decisions when the need arises.

Q: Do I need to attend Part I in order to come to Part II?

A: While attending both presentations is recommended, the second session at will largely focus on completing a Georgia Advance Directive for Healthcare, so those unable to come to the first session are still welcome. Please note that, unlike the first presentation, the workshop will have more limited seating than the earlier presentation.

Q: What will be covered in Part III?

The third presentation, to be held in early 2024, focuses on best positioning your financial world to provide for contingencies in the event of a disability, as well as simplify the settlement of your estate at the time of your death.  We will discuss the use of beneficiary designations, the ramifications of joint ownership of accounts, the importance of a financial power of attorney, the possibility of using Trust planning to avoid probate and protect assets, and the importance of having financial information readily available for your family.

Q: Do I need to bring anything?

If you’re married, we would encourage you to bring your spouse. You might also want to bring a notebook and pen to take notes.

 Q: How do I register and is there a cost?

There is no cost to attend any of these sessions and you can register by sending an email to