My name is Mirit Hoffman, and I am very excited to post my first blog to TOI. I am a mother of three amazing children and an attorney since 1996. My legal expertise is Elder Law.
In my blogs I will be discussing issues that concern elders in our family, such as wills and estate planning, as well as the relationship between older children (mainly the “sandwich generation”) and their parents.
Coming to terms with the reality of aging can be a challenge, consequently, and in order to ease oneself into this stage, some key planning may be essential.
- Keeping busy– Retiring from one’s occupation often means the beginning of an unfulfilling future. Even with financial security, health and a clear mind, one can fall victim to the terrible curse of boredom. Try and make sure you keep busy and include a wide variety of alternative hobbies, personal projects, volunteer activities and community contributions to your days.
- Accumulating enough retirement income– Saving for retirement is important. You want to make sure that you have enough money to live on, be able to enjoy life and that you have enough to take care of yourself and your spouse. You do not want to worry about making ends met financially every month, once you have retired. And you definitely do not want to become a burden on your children and/or on your family.
- Maintaining financial records– You should have several copies of key documents plus account information (and online access passwords). Provide access information to the appropriate family members, and make sure you have online backups and keep your records (and your passwords) regularly updated.
- Deciding where to live– Most people want to retire and continue living in their homes. It is therefore a good idea to make a careful note of your current living arrangements to see if safety modifications or remodeling can be done now in preparation for your future.
- Prepare a Will– By writing a will you can control what happens to your assets when you are no longer among the living, and it is the best way to ensure that your assets are distributed exactly as you wish. In addition, you most likely want to be assured that your family continues to get along in harmony and in peace even after you pass away. Writing a will which leaves very clear and precise instructions as to how you want your assets to be distributed can avoid future dispute between successors. You are entitled to bequeath inheritance to nearly anyone you want in a will. In the absence of a will, your assets will be distributed according to the inheritance laws rather than according to your personal wishes.
- Prepare an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA)- The EPA allows you, while you are still competent and capable, to appoint another person, (usually a close friend or a family member), to attend to your personal and/or medical and/or financial matters while you are alive but in no position to manage things for yourself due to lack of mental capacity (due to illnesses such as Dementia or Alzheimer, as an example). This document allows you full independence to choose your own future course of care and to set up detailed instructions for your Appointee.
It is time for a new mindset when it comes to aging and life stages. By overcoming fear and opening ourselves up to the possibilities, there is much we can do to ensure that old age will be our new and positive stage of growth.
In the upcoming blogs we will be discussing these issues at length so stay tuned!