A lot of life is in the details, and more often than not, estate planning is overlooked. In fact, about 70% of American adults have done no estate planning which includes completing a will, setting up a trust, creating a health care directive, and establishing powers of attorney. I will explain how those four specific areas of estate planning should be addressed at any stage in life to ensure life can be lived stress-free.
Why Estate Planning is Important
While the thought of planning for emergency and end-of-life matters is a serious topic to address, it’s very important you manage your affairs before you actually get to that stage of life. Preparation is key to living an empowered life. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, if you suffer a health crisis or are incapacitated, a judge at a probate court will supervise your care and assess your assets in what’s called a conservatorship unless you have these details documented.
Estate planning should include focus on these key areas:
- Advance Health Care Directive
These legally binding documents help seniors and their loved ones navigate the often-challenging end-of-life health issues in the event of incapacitation. This will ensure doctors, family, and other healthcare professionals heed wishes and there isn’t a gray area of concern for steps taken.
- Power of Attorney
Just as the advanced directive manages the healthcare aspect of affairs, power of attorney grants agency to an individual on another’s behalf during certain financial situations. The individual can choose who is responsible for accessing bank accounts, selling stocks, and securing senior living.
- Living Trust or Will
Unlike a will that is a written legal document that expresses the plan of distribution of assets upon death, a living trust will benefit individuals during their lifetime, and is then transferred to designated beneficiaries after death.
- Estate Executor or Personal Representative
Your estate covers everything I just mentioned. So while there are a lot of moving pieces and consideration of your personal affairs, one person can ensure everything is organized and in alignment as it needs to be accessed. It’s natural to choose a family member or loved one for the responsibility, but it doesn’t have to be anyone within your family. The person must act in accordance of your final wishes, and an alternate person can be named in the instance the primary executor is unavailable or unwilling to act.
Walker Methodist for Transition
While estate planning covers those four topics, it also implies that how you want to live – your physical dwelling space – should be considered. Planning for the future could include where you or your loved one(s) will want to reside during life’s transitions. Walker Methodist offers independent living, assisted living, memory care, care suites, transitional care, long-term care, continuing care retirement communities, housing with services, and retirement communities for individuals aged 55 and older. Our communities are dynamic with excellent, skilled staff and a wide range of amenities for seniors looking to continue living life to the fullest.
We understand that planning for senior living can be a great challenge. Our staff is dedicated to helping you and your loved one get the answers you need on estate planning and the transition to senior living if that is what is chosen. We offer support and education on topics including advanced directives and power of attorney, as well as other estate planning tips. Let us know how we can help.