This is the first post in our series about estate planning and advance care.
The good news is that life is wonderful. The bad news is that life is short and none of us get out of here alive. However, the other good news is that we have some control over what happens with our assets when we die, and how we can benefit our families in the future.
Unfortunately, too many of us pass away without leaving a Will or other instructions to our loved ones, and this can cause hardship and stress for friends and family during an already difficult time.
A lack of planning can cause enormous emotional and financial strain on those left to pick up the pieces, who must not only deal with a loved one’s estate after they pass away, but also must cope with advanced illness and mental incapacity in the weeks, months, or years leading up to the transition.
Anticipating the aging and death of a parent is not an easy process, and for this and other reasons, many people avoid discussing estate and advance care planning with their loved ones. However, as the baby boomer generation ages, many adult children are finding themselves in precarious financial situations as they struggle to cope with their aging parents’ health care needs and funeral arrangements, or find themselves in desperate situations with incapacitated parents who have left behind no advanced health care directives.
Additionally, scrambling to find documents, make arrangements, and pay for care often comes on top of the existing struggles of balancing grief, work, and family life. This can cause irreparable damage for families where disputes might occur, such as between siblings who disagree on what their parents’ wishes may have been.
No matter how much planning is done, the passing of a parent is likely to lead to a great deal of stress, grief, and even disagreement. However, this can be mitigated by taking the time to learn about your aging parents’ wishes and the basic elements of their estate and advance care plans.
Do not wait too long to start the conversation, even if it is a difficult conversation to have. Be open and honest with your parents about their future needs and your future needs. Help your parents put their advance care plans into place, so that you can have some peace of mind during what will be a very difficult time.
Stay tuned for the second post in our estate planning and advanced care series – next week, same bat-time, same bat-channel!
If you have any enquiries about estate planning and advance care, contact Greg Martin of our office on 02 9687 9322.