Posts Tagged ‘estate planning’

There is an old adage that states, “Life can’t go according to plan, if you don’t have a plan.” This rings true when you think about later life planning. Planning for later life issues is not only; such planning can give you control of your affairs while you are living and after your death. When preparing for the discussion about later life, one crucial topic to focus on is your finances.

Calculator and checklist of finances

When determining the future of your finances, you will want to create a plan so that you know what resources will be available to you and your family. This knowledge will help shape decisions on things such as living arrangements and medical care. One such plan is a retirement income plan, outlining your anticipated income and expenses. To figure out if you will outlive it or not, you should also analyze your nest egg savings. When creating this plan, it is recommended that you hold off on receiving your social security benefits for as long as you can.

Another important aspect is to plan for role reversal. There may come a time when someone else will need to take over the responsibility of paying your bills and managing your assets. Deteriorating health, mobility, and cognition may result in a change in the handling of your finances. Unfortunately, all too often, when a health crisis occurs, an older person is faced with the fear of losing their independence. As a result of this fear, they recant what they previously expressed as their wishes.  This wavering can result in a burden and stress on your loved ones.  It can make them wonder if they are doing what is right for you. This lack of clear communication can also result in turmoil within your family.

As part of your plan, it is recommended that you choose a financial power of attorney. This document allows you to name a trusted person, to handle your financial matters if you become unable to manage them on your own. Durable powers of attorney for finances are mainly preventive documents. If you don’t have them and you become mentally incompetent, a judge will have to appoint someone to manage your finances for you—even if the appointee is unfamiliar with you or your money matters. Ohio Legal Help is an excellent resource with forms to help you designate your financial power of attorney.

It is never too early to start planning for your future. Drafting documents before a crisis occurs, such as advanced directives, can prevent the discomfort of family members and make the end of your life more enjoyable for the entire family.

Written by: Kathy Tutt, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County

Reviewed by: Laura Halladay, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Greene County


     Ohio Legal Help, Financial Power of Attorney Form, https://www.ohiolegalhelp.org/letters-forms/fpoa

     Prosch, T. (2014). The Other Talk: A Guide to Talking with your Adult Children About the Rest of Your Life. United States: McGraw-Hill Education.

     Scholten, G., Bourguignon, S., Delanote, A., Vermeulen, B., Boxem, G.V., & Schoenmakers, B. (2018). Advance directive: does the GP know and address what the patient wants

     Tutt, K. (2022). The Gift of Planning, Retrieved from https://livehealthyosu.com/2022/12/05/the-gift-of-planning/

Read Full Post »

Planning for your future and sharing your decisions with your family is one of the most important gifts that you can give. So many times, adult children and family members are confronted with an unexpected crisis that disrupts their loved one’s lives. By waiting until a crisis occurs to talk about your values and preferences, your wishes for health care, living arrangements, or details of your finances may not be known. If you wait until a fall, accident, or serious diagnosis to initiate these conversations; big decisions may be driven by assumptions.

Planning ahead reduces the burden that can fall on your family or loved ones. The death or serious illness of a parent can affect both the psychological and physical well-being of adult children. If you procrastinate, your loved one’s emotions and state of mind could suffer. The decisions they make without knowing your wishes can make them feel guilty or incompetent if something goes wrong. They may feel helpless when trying to navigate the cost of healthcare. Research has shown that children who are not prepared for their parent’s death or serious illness have a harder time accepting this reality and are more likely to struggle with mental issues such as depression and anxiety. They are already upset about their loss, so adding the fact that they must make financial and personal arrangements afterward make it an especially stressful event. In other words, when a parent or loved one does not plan ahead, it leaves the difficult decisions up to their loved ones. In this situation, the older adult becomes the innocent bystander, while their family navigates the difficult decisions. This reactive mindset disregards the potential disagreements between family members as well as any emotionally driven decisions that may be made.

Having these critical conversations early will help prevent disagreement with family members. As with many families, there are a multitude of personalities with differing opinions, values, and goals. Having clear guidelines with open communication takes away the opportunity for competing ideas that can tear the family apart. Decisions made on behalf of their parents can lead to a lifetime of resentment among children even after the parent has died. Pre-planning promotes harmony within the family during your last years of life by avoiding rivalries, financial problems, and personal disagreements.

Preparing for your future will reduce the weight on your loved ones considerably, leading to less stress and anxiety. By embracing a precautionary and cooperative state of mind, you can empower your family for anything that lies ahead, which is one of the greatest gifts that you can give.

The Healthy Aging Network telecast on end-of-life planning addresses some of the important things to consider when planning for your future. If you would like to learn more, please contact Kathy Tutt at tutt.19@osu.edu.

Written by: Kathy Tutt, Family and Consumer Scienced Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County


     Hebert, R.S., Schulz, R., Copeland, V.C., & Arnold, R.M. (2009). Preparing family caregivers for death and bereavement. Insights from Caregivers of terminally ill patients. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 37, 3-12. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2007.12.010

     Umberson, D., & Chen, M.D. (1994). Effects of a parent’s death on adult children: relationship salience and reaction to loss. American Sociological Review, 59, 152-168. doi: 10.2307/2096138

Read Full Post »