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We Need Someone to Help Us…
I just want to be a daughter/son. I want to visit with my mom/dad and not have to worry about paperwork and bill paying. I want to take my mom shopping and to dinner, and not have to worry about medical decisions. I’m too emotional to make a good decision. My brother/sister doesn’t agree with what I think mom/dad needs, but he/she doesn’t live here and see him/her every day like I do!
We all have choices to make. Some are easy. Some are hard. Some make a difference in our life, some have little significance. As we age, we have choices about how we want to spend our time, where we want to spend it, and how we want to pay for it. More than 70% of us will not be able to live out our years independently in our own homes. We will need various levels of assistance. Some of us will require minimal assistance or life modifications, some of us will require total assistance and some of us will fall somewhere in between. None of us like to discuss getting older and losing our independence. None of us like to spend (or more accurately “set aside”) money for end of life matters. But think about those choices.
Could This Be Someone You Love?
Here’s the story…..he lived comfortably. He had a reasonable pension. His parents died and left him a modest inheritance. His home was paid for. His health began to decline. He began to be confused about his bills. He began to use his overdraft protection routinely. He began to mismanage his medications. He began to be paranoid that others wanted to harm him. He had no family close, so he began to depend on others to some degree. A neighbor began to take advantage of that dependence. He signed mortgages on his property to a neighbor. His bills began to go unpaid and start piling up. He habitually called 911 for emergency transport. He began to have panic attacks.
Someday….I Will Make a Plan!
As an adult child of aging parents, or as a caregiver of someone who is aging – it is easy to overlook signs that an aging person may need the help of professionals. When a caregiver sees the person frequently, changes are not as noticeable as they are to someone who is not well acquainted with the person.
Additionally, if the aging person is a parent or a loved one, it is often easy to be in denial of the changes that may be visible to others.
But I Have Whole Life Insurance To Pay For My Funeral…
Why is this NOT a good idea? I recently helped a gentleman who had, in good faith, taken out a whole life insurance policy to pay for his final expenses. So far, he has paid in over $18,000 (yes that is correct!). If he retained the policy, he would be required to pay the rest of his life. At age 81, that could be ten or more years. At $101 per month, or $1,212 per year, several thousand more dollars in premiums could be paid. And, did I mention that since he has paid since 1999, the cash value of the his insurance policy is a whopping $2,100? Additionally, when he dies, the death benefit pay-out is $5,000.
This is a sentiment expressed by many of my clients. They don’t want a fancy casket. They don’t want alot of money spent on their final arrangements. They want something very simple. They are from the “no frills” generation, who want to be respectful while being frugal.
If you have not pre-planned your funeral and made arrangements prior to death, it puts your loved ones in a bind. It can be a time bind. It can be a financial bind. If you have expressed to your loved ones that you want a simple final service, it is even more important for you to pre-plan than if you want to spend alot of money on your final arrangements.
Dying Is So Expensive!
So true. Today’s very average funeral in the Midwest region is about $7,000 to $10,000, not including burial space and a marker. So how can we decrease the expenses?
It’s Only “Stuff!”
I’m not worried about my personal “stuff.” I don’t really have that much, plus my kids get along fine anyway….do you know anyone who has said this? Do you know any family members who have ended up arguing, or not speaking to each other after dividing “stuff?”
Studies show that personal property after the death of a loved one is an issue that impacts individuals regardless of their financial worth, heritage or cultural background. Emotions and family relationships impact decision making. Inheritance decisions can enhance or destroy family continuity.
I Don’t Know What To Do……
I recently helped a sweet lady who didn’t even know who to call, in terms of a funeral home, when her husband died. It makes my heart sad for those who have lost someone they love, and to make matters worse, have no idea what steps to take. Even though she had made funeral arrangements for family members in the past, at 80 + year of age, she didn’t know what to do. It wasn’t a matter of confusion or dementia, it wasn’t a matter of having no one to help her, she just plain didn’t know what to do. Her husband was in his 80’s and suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. Yet she, nor family members, nor anyone around her suggested at any point that pre-arrangements be made.
WHAT TO DO FIRST?
End-of-Life planning can be overwhelming and confusing. There is no such thing as a plan with only one component when it comes to end-of-life planning. We are also planning for the unknown. We do not know if we (or aging parents, spouses, etc.) will live to an old age, will be healthy or health impaired, will be able to live at home, will need assistance or full-time care…..how do we effectively plan for the unknown?