As people get older, they tend to spend more time pursuing health and happiness in later years. Nonetheless, a staggering amount of us are unprepared when it comes to end-of-life scenarios. Americans’ refusal to talk about death or end of life planning has meant that millions of us have neglected to make decisions or take steps to make our wishes known when the time comes.
Around 58 percent do not have a will or a trust, and only a third have any kind of advanced directives in place. While it may be difficult to think about, getting your affairs in order now can save you and your loved ones a lot of heartache and financial worries later on. As a bonus, it gives you full control over your life, your wishes, and the way you want to spend your final years.
While it may be difficult to think about, getting your affairs in order now can save you and your loved ones a lot of heartache and financial worries later on.
Draft A Will And Advanced Healthcare Directives
According to Caring.com’s 2020 Estate Planning and Wills Survey, the number of Americans that have a will or other kind of estate planning document has decreased by 25 percent since 2017. The practice is also particularly apparent with older adults. According to Rainen Law Office, the failure to have a clear estate planning document that spells out the roles and duties of a loved one can prevent them from acting in your best interest or according to your wish.
Based on Massachusetts intestacy laws, the lack of a valid will could result in your next of kin automatically inheriting your assets and the payment of avoidable inheritance taxes. Similarly, the presence of a healthcare proxy or personal directive on end-of-life care can protect your healthcare wishes. Your healthcare plan generally includes a Healthcare Proxy, Living Will, A Comfort Care Order, Durable Power of Attorney, and Medical Life-Sustaining Treatments.
Whether you choose to keep a printed file or digital copies, start compiling your financial records, medical information, and asset directives early on.
Build Yourself An End Of Life File
Sorting out the paperwork and decisions that come with end-of-life planning or an unfortunate illness can be tough for everyone involved. It can also be confusing. There are bills to keep up with, credit card lenders and banks to contact, and other little details to complete. This can take an enormous amount of time, and may even lead to misinterpretation. However, by simply getting your paperwork together now, you can avoid this. Building an end-of-life file may seem horrible, but it is necessary to make the process easier for everyone involved. So whether you choose to keep a printed file or digital copies, start compiling your financial records, medical information, and asset directives early on.
Address Financial Questions
While many Americans are meticulous about their retirement finances, they are sadly remiss about end-of-life finance. Yet costs like healthcare, additional home care, or estate costs can all add up, and need to be paid out of pocket if not planned for. In addition to having a living will and naming a power of attorney for healthcare, don’t forget to designate a durable power attorney for your finances – someone who can address financial matters if you find yourself incapacitated. This includes ensuring your bills are paid and financial obligations satisfied. This person can be the same as your healthcare power of attorney, but it is not necessary. Ideally, you will also want to check with your bank and lenders that there is no paperwork you need to fill out once you choose a durable power of attorney.
Additionally, check that your life and long term care insurance policies are up to date. The National Bureau of Economic Research estimates that end-of-life obligations cost $11,618 in the last year of life. However, this would depend heavily on your circumstances. According to Parting.com, the average cost of a funeral can be between $8,000 and $10,000. You may want to set up an automatic savings account to budget for this over time. This lessens the financial burden on your loved ones when the time comes.
Most people do not get to dictate their future, including their later years. However, you can be proactive about it by getting your affairs in order. Knowing that you have your wishes and affairs squared away can bring you some comfort that if the time does come, your voice will still be heard.
Do you have your affairs in order?
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