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Please, if you are the aging parent, discuss these things with your children, make a will and a living will. If you are the child, press your parents to have this discussion. Tell them how lost you're going to be and ask for their guidance. This is a difficult enough experience to go through when you have some idea what your parent expected. Without their guidance it's going to be much worse.

Not a pleasant topic.

About two years before my mother died she discussed what she and my father wanted in terms of a funeral, health care etc. We had talked in more general terms before. Like you I knew the financial affairs and the special instructions. Some I would not have ever guessed. They had also purchased the Cemetery lot and the stone was installed without dates.

Since I knew what they wanted it was easy to just mechanically (not being a great time to have to think about what should be done)go through the steps. I too was hundred of miles away and I think they tried to arrange everything to make it as easy as they could on me.

It worked and I would recommend advance planning when ever possible. I was an only child also but my wife had five brothers. For me I could do what I thought best. For her you had to have the agrement of everyone. Therefore advanced planning is even more important for people with several children.
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