I work with many seniors, and I love doing so. In the last third of life, people are generally wiser, more patient, more understanding. Seniors have lived long enough to know a thing or two. They usually know who they are and what they want. Most will tell you that they want to be healthy and to live independently. They want their freedom and the ability to live comfortably. Financial security is important. Lifestyle is important. Family, friends, travel, all rate high for seniors.
Know What You Want & Make It Happen
Unfortunately, knowing what you want and making it happen are two different things. Though many seniors do a great job planning for their later years in life, many do not. Sadly, over the course of my career, I’ve represented many seniors who waited too long. Too long to make decisions about their long term care, their housing, and their estate planning. I’ve witnessed family members in crisis, trying to figure out things on behalf of mom or dad, or both, because mom and dad failed to make decisions for themselves when they still had the capacity to do so. There is nothing worse than having to sell a property because of duress — financial duress or duress due to poor health and the need for professional care. Decisions made in crisis are typically not the best. They are often hurried and emotionally-driven.
Plan for the Future
If you are a senior, it’s important to plan for your future. You know what you want, so write it down, meet with appropriate professionals (attorney, accountant, Realtor), and take steps so that you and your family members are not forced to take actions inconsistent with your desires. If you are healthy, now is the time to plan what you want to do with your assets and how you want to live out the remainder of your days. Do not wait for a crisis to happen. Do not let others make decisions on your behalf because you are unable to decide for yourself. And please do not put your loved ones in a position to make decisions for you while they are emotionally distraught. When it comes to handling your future and your assets, decisions should be made by you well in advance.
Making thoughtful, and often tough, decisions isn’t easy. But, there is wisdom in planning well in advance. Change is inevitable. No matter how hard we try to resist it, it will come. So, plan for it. You’ll be much better off if you do, and so will those you love.