Alzheimer’s Partnership Mini Conference

“What If?” Give the Gift of Preparedness to Your Loved Ones

Name: ”What If?” Give the Gift of Preparedness to Your Loved Ones
Date: October 12, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM EDT
Event Description:
The Alzheimer’s Partnership of the South Shore invites caregivers, seniors and anyone interested in planning your affairs to a presentation by local author Gwen Morgan. Gwen teaches the necessary steps for organizing all imperative personal planning.  Gwen W. Morgan wrote the “What if … Workbook©” after years of working in hospice and elder care, as well as drawing from her own personal experience.The Workbook is the optimal guide for documenting key information about finances, personal assets, and personal wishes.It allows loved ones to know the exact wishes of their family member or friend, neatly organized in one workbook.  It also serves as a communication tool for families to help with sometimes difficult conversations.

The first 20 people to register will receive a free Workbook (value $24.95) sponsored by Partners HealthCare at Home.

Respite care for loved ones is offered through the Alzheimer’s Partnership of the South Shore so caregivers can attend.  Please inquire when registering.

Hanover Senior Center
665 Center Street, Hanover MA
Date/Time Information:
Wednesday, October 12 2016
10:00am – 11:00 am
Registration: Alzheimer’s Association of Massachusetts 1-800-272-3900
The course is free.
The first 20 registrants will receive a
copy of the ”What If … Workbook”
compliments of Partners HealthCare
at Home.

Have YOU had ‘The Conversation’??


For the last 10 years I have devoted my work life to helping people get their affairs in order, BEFORE a crisis happens. I wrote the What if … Workbook (a fill in the blank, organizational guide) in 2005, and have been using it as a resource since 2006: selling it from this website in hard copy or ebook, and offering workshops and presentations around it, sharing my What if … philosophy: 1. WRITE DOWN your important information,
2. COMMUNICATE to a trusted loved one where this information is located, and 3. LIVE YOUR LIFE FULLY, knowing you have given them a huge gift, the GIFT OF PREPAREDNESS. Included in the Workbook: who to contact, financial information, location of imperative documents, final wishes, medical history, and much more. 

A huge part of being prepared is choosing a Heath Care Agent, who is that person who will make your medical decisions for you if you are unable to speak for yourself. Here in Massachusetts we use a Health Care Proxy form to designate that individual, along with an alternate. Studies show that most people never have ‘the conversation’ about their end of life wishes. When a difficult decision has to be made for a loved one regarding a medical intervention, a family can be torn apart when confronted with the decision to move forward with what could be a very invasive medical intervention … or doing nothing, and letting nature take its course. Quality of life is at issue here. Everyone has their own thoughts on their end of life wishes, and there is no correct answer. Just the individual’s personal opinion  on what they would want done. I have heard numerous stories on how knowing their loved one’s end of life wishes was a saving grace to the family, and how NOT knowing was a nightmare, and so, so very difficult to know what to do. Two excellent resources to help you through this very personal and crucial undertaking, and to help you communicate your wishes to your Health Care Agent, are Five Wishes, which can be found at, or

I was thrilled to see the front page article in the May 12th Boston Globe entitled: Dying wishes often unspoken, unmet. A state wide Massachusetts survey revealed “widespread failure by doctors and patients to prepare for illness and death. Consider: One-third of people with a relative who had died recently said that medical professionals did not fully carry out the dying person’s wishes, according to the survey.” A consortium consisting of 58 health care groups, called The Massachusetts Coalition for Serious Illness Care, has been organized by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, bringing together leaders with the goal of improving end-of-life care. The Boston Globe article is wonderful and I am thrilled that the initiative is under way! 
Have YOU had ‘the conversation’ with your loved ones?? I would love to hear your stories about how important it was to actually KNOW your loved ones wishes, or … how heart breaking it was NOT knowing.

Did Prince leave a Will? What chaos might ensue if not??

I believe this is a true learning opportunity for us all. At this point in time, it appears that multi-millionaire music icon Prince did not take the time (and consideration) to get his affairs together in the case of his death. I saw on the news that a friend asked him, “so have you made plans for your estate/music for when you are gone?” Prince replied to him, “I will never be gone.”

What??? Once we are born, it is inevitable that we will also be ‘gone’ at some point. Hopefully we will live long, healthy, happy, productive lives, but without doubt we shall all pass from this earth. We have no control over when, that’s to be sure!

What we CAN control is our preparation for when we DO pass. Getting our affairs written down. Communicate to our families and/or loved ones where this information is located. Fill in the What if … Workbook, sit with those you trust and share your ‘stuff’ with them.: who to contact, financial information, end of life wishes, funeral planning, special gifts, location of legal documents, and much more. Make good decisions while you are well, of sound mind and body, BEFORE a crisis happens.

Because Prince did not leave a Will specifying what to do with his estate, as of this writing it will be divided between his sister and half siblings, many of whom he had not seen for years. Is this what he would have wanted? Have you set up your important documents so that your estate is distributed to the people you love most? I repeat .. this is an important learning opportunity for us. Do not delay … be considerate to those you love … don’t wait until you ‘are gone’.

Honoring Your Life by Making Decisions BEFORE a Crisis Happens!

The What if … Workbook is an easy to use, fill in the blank guide that helps users get their affairs together in one convenient location. One philosophy behind the What if … program is that each and every one of us in HONORING our lives by taking the time to get our ‘stuff’ written down. ie. financial information (account numbers, user names, passwords), who to contact, legal documents (where are they??), end of life wishes, what kind of service to have (scriptures, hymns, psalms), or maybe you don’t want a service, who will take care of your pets, and much, much more.

Most people don’t know where to start when dealing with these ‘difficult to think about’ issues. The What if … Workbook will lead you through the process in a simple, straightforward way.  Just fill in the blanks! But … once completed, remember to share with your loved ones that you have done so, and where it is located. Is it time to purchase one for yourself, your spouse, your family members? Hard copy, ebook and Get it Started audio tutorial all available on the Purchase page!


Having conversations about the “What if’s” CAN be tough!!

It’s true .. starting the conversation about the ‘What if’s’ in life is tough. That’s why I created the What if … Workbook as a practical, easy to use guide that gets ALL of your affairs in order in one convenient location, AND serves as a wonderful resource to initiate conversation about end of life wishes. Is it time to purchase one for yourself, your spouse, your family members? Hard copy, ebook and Get it Started audio tutorial all available on the Purchase page!


THANK YOU! from Emma in New Zealand

In October I received the following thanks from Emma but just stumbled upon it again. She really ‘gets’ what the What if … Workbook is all about. I am so thrilled that she found it to be a valuable resource to help her and her husband get their affairs together.

Thank YOU Emma!!

Hello Gwen

My husband and I went to a funeral last week of a dear friend who dropped dead while walking to the gym! I am constantly having the discussion with my husband about making a funeral plan and knowing what his wishes are and he’s reluctant to discuss them with me. However, the suddenness of our friend’s death and the fact that he left no plan in place at all, has brought home to us the necessity of having something in writing that we and our family can use in the (certain) eventuality of our own deaths.
I was doing research online and found a couple of websites that I thought provided what I wanted but realised that I had to fill them out online and then submit them to their website where they would be stored “securely”. As the Ashley Madison scandal has taught the world, no website is safe and I certainly don’t want all my financial and personal details stored in someone else’s system to be hacked into at a later date.Then I came across this article in the New York Times and right at the end of it was just what I was looking for, your book!
It’s going to take a while to fill it out I can see, but I also found another website that gets the ball rolling so armed with them both, I’m hoping I can finally get some information out of not only my husband but my adult children as well! Sadly, I wish I’d thought of doing this earlier as my parents are in their 90′s now and both have dementia, and as a result, I have very little idea of their true wishes. 
Sorry to be so verbose! 
Warm regards from (cold wintery) New Zealand

Initiating the Money Conversation

I would like to share a newsletter I recently received from my colleague Kathleen Burns Kingsbury. Kathleen is an author, speaker, and Wealth Psychology Expert. She advises financial planners on best practices of working with their clients. In her article, she talks about how few of us want to deal with getting our affairs together, but she and her husband did take the steps to ‘get it done’.

I usually don’t like to ‘go there’ when a catastrophe happens and people are hurt or killed, be it a natural disaster, the result of gun violence, anger, or terrorism. I don’t want to give that any energy. But given what has happened recently in Paris, I feel that Kathleen has stated an honest truth. She has given me permission to share it on my blog.


Wealthy Insights Newsletter

Our Date Night With The Lawyer 

Last Wednesday night, my husband and I visited our estate attorney and updated our wills and related documents. It was not the most romantic way to spend a night out on the town so we made up for it on Saturday with dinner and a movie.

This is an important task that so many couples put off because it’s an uncomfortable money conversation. Approximately 55% of Americans don’t have a will or estate plan. Common excuses include not having enough time, not having the money to pay a lawyer, or my favorite, “I am not going to die.”

Given the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, this month seems like a perfect time to raise this money conversation with your clients. Our safety and our health is something many adults take for granted. However, bad stuff happens to good people and taking the time to draw up an estate plan is a gift to those you leave behind.

The funny thing is that conversations about illness and death can actually bring you closer. In preparation for our meeting, we had a great phone call with my niece to ask her if she would be one of the executors of our will. You could feel the pride she felt being asked, and we both felt immensely grateful when she said yes. What started as an uncomfortable discussion ended up being a nice moment for the three of us.

During this month of thanks, take some time to talk to your clients about their estate plans. Educate them about the risks of not having one, the need to update it from time to time, and how you as a trustworthy, caring advisor can help them with the process.

Together we can engage in more money conversations and make this a better place to live.

Take Care,


Kathleen Burns Kingsbury, Wealth Psychology Expert & Author
KBK Wealth Connection, PO Box 1006, Waitsfield, VT 05673

Phone: 617.803.6046

Talking about inheritance with your parents … how touchy is that??

I was thrilled to be interviewed for this article by journalist Cameron Huddleston. I hope you find it of value.

Can you offer any more ideas of how to broach this very touchy subject??

How to Talk to Your Parents About Your Inheritance

inheritance from parents

Do you expect your parents to leave you a financial legacy? Nearly half of working-age Americans assume that they will receive an inheritance that will support them later in life, according to a recent survey by financial services company HSBC.

Perhaps the bigger question, though, is how to even approach this topic with your parents. “No matter how you look at this, it’s such a sensitive issue,” said Gwen Morgan, author of the “What If … Workbook,” a guide that helps people give loved ones necessary information if anything happens to them.

You don’t want to appear greedy by asking your parents, “Do I have an inheritance?” But, you do need answers to certain questions to ensure that your parents’ financial wishes are carried out and there is a smooth transition of wealth and assets. Here’s how to approach this touchy subject and get the information you need.

Related: 4 Tips to Prevent a Family Feud Over Your Inheritance Plan

How to Start the Conversation About Your Inheritance

The burning question on your mind might be how much money you’ll get in your inheritance from your parents. However, you shouldn’t ask how much you stand to inherit because the amount can change over your parents’ remaining lives, said Chris Blackmon, a certified public accountant (CPA) with wealth management firm Biggers Blackmon LLC. Plus, you don’t want your parents to mistake your question as a sense of entitlement, he said. Instead, you should start by asking your parents about whether they have an estate plan.

You can say, “I don’t want to know the numbers. I just want to be able to follow your instructions out of love,” said Saul Simon, a certified financial planner (CFP) and author of “Simon Says: Love Your Legacy.” It’s important that your parents know that you want to know what they want if something happens to them, he said.

A good way to start this conversation is to reference a resource, such as a book or an article you read about the importance of estate planning. You could share what you’ve learned or offer to let them read the resource themselves.

Or, you could say that you’re doing your own estate planning so that there is no question about who gets what when you’re gone, then ask whether your parents have taken any similar steps. “You might even acknowledge how awkward and difficult this conversation is for you as you do not wish their demise but are just trying to figure things out,” said Ruth Nemzoff, an expert in family dynamics and author of the book “Don’t Bite Your Tongue.”  

If one approach doesn’t work, try another. Above all, be respectful and recognize that it could take time, said Simon.

When to Talk About Your Inheritance Plan

Both Blackmon and Simon said that the holidays are a good time to address estate planning with your parents if your family will be gathering together. “It is important that all are included and feel equally included,” said Blackmon.

This doesn’t mean you should bring up your potential inheritance from your parents at the dinner table right after you ask Mom or Dad to pass the turkey. But, you should take the opportunity when everyone is gathered to start a conversation.

You’ll likely get a better reception from your parents if you let the conversation happen naturally rather than scheduling a time to talk, said Morgan. That’s when using a story about your own financial planning or an example of someone’s failure to plan can be effective.

Read: 5 Signs Your Parents Are the Victims of a Financial Scam

What You Need to Know

Regardless of the way or when you approach the topic of an inheritance from your parents, the goal of the conversation is to make sure parents have a plan in place so there will be a clear path for whomever is left behind to go forward, Morgan said. Start by finding out whether they have these key legal documents:

  • will
  • A power of attorney document that designates someone to financial and legal decisions if they are unable to do so themselves
  • A living will or health care directive to designate someone to make health care decisions and specify end-of-life care

Find out where your parents keep these documents and how you can access them if necessary. Also, ask if they have written funeral or burial instructions.

You also need to ask your parents to provide other important information so you can handle their finances if they are unable to or when they die:

  • Account numbers and passwords
  • Insurance policies and contact information for their insurers
  • Contact information for their accountant, attorney, financial planner or other financial professional
  • Contact information for their retirement plan or pension administrator

Morgan said most parents will not be willing to provide their children with their account numbers and passwords. So, she recommends that you ask your parents to make a list of accounts or use “The What If … Workbook” to record important financial information and store it in a fireproof safe in their home along with their Social Security card, passport, deeds and other important documents.

When Not to Ask About Your Inheritance

The key to having any conversation about money is establishing trust. You don’t want to talk to your parents about their estate if you’ve recently argued with them or haven’t demonstrated to them that you can be financially responsible, said Nemzoff.

Nor do you want to ask about their finances at times of turmoil, such as the recent drop in the stock market, Morgan said. Your parents might think you’re touching on the topic only because you’re concerned about whether there will be money left for you.

Let’s Get the Conversation Started!

Getting our affairs in order BEFORE a crisis is so important, but it also brings up the thought of our immortality, which can be difficult for some to think about. But the belief behind the What if … Workbook is that it is a GIFT to think about these things, write them down, communicate to your loved one that you have done so, and then live your life fully! knowing that you have provided your family or loved one with a huge GIFT … the Gift of Preparedness.

The What if … Workbook was written to provide an easy to use, fill in the blank guide to help you through this process.

Order the hard copy OR the convenient ebook (fill it out on your computer and save as a document) today at

What if … interactive workshop highlighted in Cape News!!


This past June 13th I facilitated a fantastic What if … interactive workshop at the First Church in Sandwich, MA. I worked with Cathy Ode of the First Church in Sandwich, to organize the event, and she worked in collaboration with Jan Timmons of the Sandwich Council on Aging, to market the event and offer a wonderful lunch. Over 50 attended, and it was very well received. We were thrilled to be interviewed by the Cape News for what turned out to be a very positive article. Thank you to Cathy and Jan for putting together this wonderful event! Due to popular demand, we will be offering another workshop on October 17th, 11:30-1:30pm. (tentative times)

If you would like to host a What if … workshop or presentation at your church, women’s club, men’s club, rotary, or other social gathering, we would love to  hear from you!