Planning in Twilight Years
Death knows no age. It may happen unexpectedly or slowly. As an Elder, one must recognize that his/her active time is relatively limited. Even if one is young, unexpected illness or an accident may suddenly limit our mental and/or physical capacity, or life. So, in any case, we must plan and take actions in advance to make sure that, after our incapacity or death, our wishes and desires are carried out by the caretakers or survivors with ease and minimum stress. Such a plan consists of several pieces. This planning is often postponed by many as unpleasant with regrettable and unintended consequences, and family disputes later. The information here is intended only as general information. An attorney, tax advisor, or financial planner should be consulted as appropriate to execute the documents.
Many people feel uneasy or awkward, or think unnecessary to discuss financial and after-death matters with the family. Please inform them at least in general terms what your plans and wishes are. Make sure at least one of them knows where your documents are and has access to them. If a Safe Deposit Box is involved, you may want to provide someone with access to it and let that person know where the key is.
If you are an organ or tissue donor, be sure to inform your family members in addition to indicating it on your driver’s license. If you die in a hospital, the hospital may take the necessary steps for the donation. It may be a good idea for the family to verify that it is being done. But if you die outside a hospital, a family member has to tell the Hospice staff, health care provider, or the undertaker to act on it.
One of the initial and difficult tasks Elders are usually faced with is reducing the size of their housing. Helpful information for this task is provided under Downsizing.
Methods and available facilities for long term care (LTC), when an Elder’s health condition requires it, are described under Long Term Care.
In case of a major health or physical accident, how to provide instructions to first responders are described under Emergency Measures.
Planning and making sure your wishes are carried out by survivors is described under Final Rites.
Even if your assets are not large, Estate Planning is recommended so that survivors can manage and distribute your estate easily without much dispute according to your wishes.Your designated survivors should have full knowledge of what you own and where important documents are as discussed in Data Organization, in order to carrry out tasks that need to be done. An Estate Data Organizer that can be used by survivors in carrying out their tasks readily and easily, is also described.