“Helping families plan for long life, obtain quality care and navigate the long term care maze”

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Your Aging Preparedness Kit

January is the month we make our resolutions for the New Year. Usually these resolutions involve diet, exercise, quitting smoking and the like. A resolution that should not be overlooked is organizing our legal and financial affairs for the future. I call this assembling your personal “Aging Preparedness Kit.”

Aging - we are all doing it. You know you should have a financial plan for how you will pay your bills. It is equally important to plan for the inevitable issues that go along with aging. Perhaps this sounds a little overwhelming and depressing, but it doesn’t have to be so. With professional guidance and your personal commitment, it can be accomplished in this New Year.

The 6 Key Topics in this planning process:

  • Your Power of Attorneys for Health Care and an Advance Health Care Directive, also called a “Living Will”
  • Your Power of Attorneys for Financial Matters
  • Your Estate Plan
  • Sharing and communicating with your helpers
  • Your plan for Long Term Care
  • Your plan for Funeral and Burial

As you can see, these topics include planning not only for the transfer of your assets after you die, but planning for long life as well. Limiting your planning to just a Will is not a complete plan. The first step is to make a commitment to begin this planning process and to educate yourself about what is required to plan effectively for your future.

Planning for aging is an extremely complex process. Each person and their family are unique and therefore require individualized planning. Unfortunately, it is not possible for me to address every issue that is involved in this process in these articles.

This is not “do it yourself” planning. People who attempt to do this kind of planning without professional assistance, either by writing their own documents or printing them off the Internet, frankly, keep lawyers in business. I couldn’t even begin to count how many problems self-help planning has caused for my clients’ families over the years. Just as you would not even dream of doing your own heart surgery, you would be equally mistaken to attempt to assemble your “aging kit” without competent professional assistance.

The second step in this process is to make a complete list of people involved in your life including their addresses and contact information. This list should also include a complete inventory of all of your assets, including how each asset is titled and all beneficiary information.