People who are influencers on the topic of estate planning and aging provide helpful information with planning ideas. This information is of value to encourage people long before there is an illness, cognitive issues, or frailty.

We are approaching the season where visits to family and friends begin the second year of the covid virus experience. Our experiences are heightened with the illness and death of friends and family.

You will notice changes with friends and family with their activities of daily living. These experiences should encourage friends and family to consider their estate and caregiving planning. There is no requirement to create plans in advance. The consequences of deferring planning will provide stress to your money, your family and friends, and the promises you made to take care of your family.

I have received calls from clients about what to do when the caregiving decision begins. I believe people defer, delay, and prefer not to develop a plan is because we have to make decisions about our lives and the lives of our family and those we promised to love and provide financial security.

Without a series of written and verbal plans, families make financial and caregiving mistakes because there is a crisis. Decisions are made in haste, and often without planning, there are consequences to those we love and love us.

How may we help our family members with medical and financial decisions?

Where to begin?

First, ask whom do you trust to advocate for your medical and financial decisions.

Second, consult with your attorney to assist with estate planning and eldercare. Your attorney will discuss living wills, trusts, durable powers of attorney, and durable power of attorney for health care.

Third, make sure that you know the answers to the following questions if you have to step in to make decisions on their behalf:

  • Your current health?
  • Level of trust with doctors? Are you comfortable with your doctor making the final decision concerning any treatment needed?
  • What is your attitude toward death?
  • What are your wishes on the use of life-sustaining measures for terminal illness?
  • If you need care services, do you want to remain at home or transition to a care center?
  • What is your level of concern about the amount of money required for care?
  • Do you have a caregiving plan, including owning an LTC benefit or other assets to pay for care?
  •  What are your wishes for funeral, burial, or cremation?
  • Who may be trusted to advocate your medical or financial decisions?