There is one certainty in life that none of us can escape: we will all die someday. The hope is this will occur when we’re old, slipping peacefully away in our sleep, but inevitably, it is guaranteed to happen to each of us.
Unfortunately, too many of us pass away without leaving a proper plan for our loved ones that can speak for us when we no longer can, and this can cause unnecessary anguish and stress for friends and family at an already difficult time.
According to a Caring.com survey, only 42% of Americans have an estate plan in place. Yet a lack of advance planning will cause enormous emotional and potential financial strain on those left to pick up the pieces. Post-death planning and preparedness is only part of the equation, however. Many also will endure advanced illness or mental incapacity in the weeks, months, or even years leading up to the passing of their family member. Incapacity cannot be forgotten.
Anticipating the impact of aging and death of a parent is not a pleasant topic, and because of this, many people avoid it all together. Failure to discuss and ultimately tackle estate and advanced care planning will only make matters worse down the road. It plays out it’s way for families every day. As the baby boomer generation ages, many adult children are finding themselves in precarious 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 advance health care directives which then require unwanted court involvement.
In addition, scrambling to make sense of everything from finances to care decisions may come on the back of balancing grief, work, and family life and can cause irreparable damage among siblings who disagree on what mom or dad’s wishes may have been.
Although there is likely to be a great deal of stress and grief when losing a parent, proper planning allows family members to feel confident that their parents will be well cared for and that their wishes will be met upon death. Scrambling will not be necessary. This confidence and peace will allow you to prioritize making memories and enjoying each day to the fullest.