Despite concerns about finances and health, most people look forward to retirement. The idea is that people will have more time for personal interests since they no longer have to work or care for small children.
Of course, things aren’t always ideal. A serious illness, dementia, or even death can mean that retirement won’t be so golden. While many health issues can’t be prevented, they can be planned for, especially since a stroke, complications from diabetes or osteoporosis can lead to long-term care situations, such as assisted living or nursing home placement.
How do you plan for a future that may include chronic health issues when you aren’t sure what the future may hold for you? These things can help:
Facing your own mortality is difficult, but don’t let the anxiety of what is to come stop you from planning for the future. The most basic part of your estate plan is a will that identifies your fiduciary or executor and what should be done with your assets after your death.
A thorough will can ensure that your assets are used and distributed to the correct people or organizations and reduce any legal and family strife.
Once you have decided to create a will, keep these five things in mind:
Writing a will is something many adults avoid for as long as possible. A will is one of those things our parents always intend to do to pass on assets, but do not always find the time to do. There are excuses and too many other things “to do”. Waiting until one is faced with having to write a will creates stress and undue pressure. Some parents and seniors never create a will and in those cases, their children and heirs are often left with much administrative work and complications in trying to obtain the inheritance their parents planned for them.
When you are taking care of a parent and you know they do not have a will, it is often a sensitive topic to begin to discuss. The best thing is to encourage them to begin thinking about their wishes once they are gone, and then move to support them in doing some estate planning and to write a will. This can be done easily with the help of an elder law attorney. If you do not have a will yourself, one way to approach the situation is to suggest that you each have a will written. And, if you are the primary caregiver of a parent or other vulnerable adult, it is extremely important that you have procedures in place that will assure that your loved one is taken care of if you are no longer able to do so. A will not only plans for your heirs’ inheritance, it can also plan for one’s own care and medical choices because along with a will, a durable power of attorney and perhaps a living will and healthcare power of attorney can be prepared in conjunction with the will. Continue Reading The Importance of Being Earnest…about a Will! →
We’ve written previously about important healthcare documents everyone needs to have on file. The most important of these are your will, and in addition certain advance directives for your medical care. The need for these written directives often does not seem important when health is good. However, as health declines, it is smart to be prepared and to share your medical healthcare preferences in the event of a serious accident, hospitalization or continuing palliative care.
Today’s advanced and widespread use of medical technology has created the need for these advance directives. You may have seen a few of the numerous studies performed documenting deficits in medical care of the dying. Aggressive medical intervention leaves millions of Americans confined to nursing homes and over a million are left so medically weak that they survive only with feeding tubes. Your own circle of friends and relatives probably includes several families overcome with the financial burden of considerable medical costs. At least one “national study* shows some family members had to leave work, 31% lost “most of their savings” and 20% reported loss of their major source of income while handling these medical situations. Over the years as more Americans experienced the burdens and diminishing benefits of invasive and aggressive medical treatment in poor prognosis states either themselves or with a loved one, pressure began to mount to devise ways to avoid the suffering and costs associated with treatments the patient did not want. The first formal response was the living will.