By Sabrina Winters
As the coach of the Lady Vols basketball
program at the University of Tennessee, Pat Summitt has amassed a
legendary record with her teams winning 8 NCAA Championships, 29 SEC
tournaments and regular season championships. She elevated the program
to the highest level in women's collegiate sports while always crediting
her success to her players.
As an athlete, you can imagine how in
tune Summit must need to be with her body. She knew something was wrong.
After wrapping up her 37th year coaching the University of Tennessee's
Lady Vols basketball team, she decided to seek medical attention. "I
just felt something was different," she explained in an interview with
the Washington Post's Sally Jenkins. After months of erratic behavior
Summitt headed north to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. In
early May, she was diagnosed with early-onset dementia, Alzheimer's
ESPN medical analyst, Dr. Michael
Kaplan, has commented that her biggest challenge may be her lack of
control. But for right now, she is feeling strong and will continue to
I am not certain whether Summitt has her
estate plan in order. However, if she doesn't I would certainly advise
her that for right now at least, she has the ability to control her
treatment and how she will be cared for in her final days, and should
absolutely get those advanced directives in place TODAY!
She was divorced a few years ago, has a
20-year-old son Ross "Tyler" and mother-daughter yellow Lab retrievers,
Sally-Sue and Sadie. Knowing her condition, she needs to make
provisions for her son via a Will or a Revocable Trust. It is also
imperative that she put in writing what her medical wishes are. I am
certain that her heart is breaking with the thought that her son has to
watch her as her health deteriorates at some point. It is heart
wrenching to think that a child may need to make these medical decisions
for a parent. But, if she does not want this, then she needs to
nominate someone to make these decisions for her.
This is a difficult time in her life for
her and her family. I know because I have personally had family
members afflicted with this. She is probably wanting to deal with this
head on. Right now is the time for her to put these plans into place
while she still has the capacity to do so.
I wish her and her family many well
wishes not only during this time but also for the future. If you have
elderly parents or loved ones that do not have these plans in place,
call our office at 704-843-1446 and we can help implement an estate plan
that will work.
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