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Mary was a women in her 80’s, married, with two grown children.  Her youngest child had suffered a traumatic brain injury in his 20’s.  He was disabled and living at her home.  As she aged, she started having symptoms of dementia.   Mary created an estate plan with an attorney.  Her goals were to 1. ensure her husband and disabled child would be cared for and 2. that her family knew her wishes.

Her estate plan included a simple will as well as requests for her funeral.  Her husband created the same documents.  Knowing their disabled child would need care, their plan included him.

As it happened, both Mary and her husband passed away on the same day, less than twelve hours apart.  Their oldest child was left to prepare everything.  While dealing with the loss of both of her parents on the same day, she scoured their home for their wills and plans.  While some documents were found, others were not.

The oldest child planned a beautiful funeral, designed their headstones, and learned that her parents had purchased plots at Sunset Hills Cemetery in Bozeman. 

Many months later as the daughter and her family cleaned the home and prepared it for sale, the child found a documents regarding her parents funeral plans. Unfortunately, her parents did not get the funeral or headstones they had wished.  While their funeral was beautiful, they still were unable to get exactly what they had wanted because their wishes were not know at the time of their passing.  This caused stress and upset in their daughter.

We may not be able to plan for everything regarding our lives and our passing.  However, there are things that we can plan for.  Having a plan in place is a great start.  Making sure your family knows that you have a plan and where to find it will ensure you wishes are honored. 


If you get sick or injured it does not mean you must lose all control of your life.  You can make advanced plans.  You can have conversations with your children and those most important to you to ensure they understand what you want both during your life, incapacity, and after you have passed on.

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