In a previous article, we discussed “Planning for Life.” Here I would like to talk about a slightly less appealing topic – getting your house in order for your death. Now this is certainly not a topic that you want to have over dinner every day, but nevertheless it is a topic that should be addressed by all, young and old alike.
It is a known fact that we all are aging daily!!! The statistics show that currently more than 10,000 people a day are turning 65 – and that trend will continue for the next 17 or so years as the baby boomers move into the ranks of America’s senior citizens. Many of those baby boomers, whether they have reached senior citizens status or not, have not adequately prepared for their demise, either financially or planning to care for love ones that will survive them. So let’s address two simple issues (of course, there are many more).
First, make sure that your will is up to date. If you have not reviewed or updated your will in the last three years, you are not planning for your demise. Recently it was noted that everyone has a will. It was surprising to hear that but it was pointed out that thirty five percent (35%) of Americans have actually drafted their own will, designating who they would like to get their assets at their death. However, the other sixty-five percent (65%) of Americans have a will too but they just don’t know it – and they don’t know what it says. The latter group has allowed the state in which they live to determine who gets their assets upon their death. In other words, if you die without a will, the state, not your spouse or family, will determine how your assets are distributed. And no one wants that to happen.
Second, talk with your family about your end-of-life care. Again, according to research, seventy percent (70%) of people say they want to die at home. In reality though, seventy percent (70%) of us actually die in a hospital, nursing home, or other long term care facility. Make sure that your end-of-life wishes are well known and that the person who has authority to make those decisions on your behalf is very familiar with your wishes.
While it is not something that we want to think about often, preparing for our death is almost as important as preparing for our life. Nothing should be left to chance.