We see it time and time again. So many people opt not to discuss their end of life plans. There’s several things to think about but the thing that most people panic about are the things that they have worked their entire life for. Imagine being a farmer who has amassed thousands of acres, equipment, homes for their help and now your health has declined quicker than you’ve thought. Long/Short term health care wants what you’ve worked for and will liquidate all of it to pay for your care. Not exactly what you had planned, right? I know planning for your health to decline is not something you even want to think about much less create a strategy for it. However, if you want to pass along what you’ve worked for you need to carve out the time.
You can pass along what you’ve worked for in a few ways but one really needs advanced planning. As of this writing you would need to shelter, either by a trust, transferring your assets or selling it to family members, with in 5 year prior to your need for long term care. There’s rumor this will get changed to 10 years.
One of the other things that you should really start doing is planning for who will receive the items in the trust and how you plan to make it happen. I have to tell you, some of the worst transactions we see are amongst heirs of an estate. I know the death or decline of health of a parent is traumatic. Now, factor in various personalities and agendas. When dollar signs outweigh relationships things can get tense really quick. As an agent, we see this so often. Even with the best laid out plans there always seems to be tension. Just my two cents worth, I think it would be smart to create a “penalty” for the ones that refuse to follow your wishes. Maybe a dollar figure for each hour of litigation/additional attorney fees to be reduced from the inheritance specifically for the person(s) that are causing the issues.
When my dad was nearing the end of his life we went through everything and put tags on them. I created a list to match. He explained his plans with myself and my brother. Even with that simple plan had my brother or I wanted to we could have made that difficult. Neither of us are inclined to be that way but so many people are.
In an interview with Vern Jarboe of Sloan, Eisenbarth and Jarboe Law Firm, we discussed a gentleman coming in to establish as trust. The gentleman brought list after list of items, land, homes, etc. with the exception of one really important thing, the home he lived in. It didn’t occur to him for some reason. We’ll never know why but it certainly caused an issue. Channel your inner Santa Claus and check that list multiple times.
Now, let’s talk about the really hard stuff. DNR, Do Not Resuscitate. That’s a rough one to think about, now, imagine being someone having to make that call for you. Worse yet, you having to make that call for someone else. There should be a clear established plan for the worst case scenario. Don’t leave that on a spouse or child to decide. Do you want to be buried? Cremated? Where do you want your remains? How will you pay for this? With the absolute cheapest burial you’re looking at $15,000. That’s a lot! Consider pre-planning with a local funeral home or put the amount it would cost into a savings account with clear instructions as to what your desires are.
Below are several interviews with Scott Sexton to listen to. Some great advice to be heard. Scott opted to specialize in this field of law because he experience this with his own parents and was determined that no one else should experience it. He has help many families avoid this.