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 too often means the beginning of an empty future, even with money, health and a clear mind one can fall victim to the terrible curse of boredom. Try and make sure you are busy and include into the day a wide variety of alternative occupations, personal projects, volunteer activities and community contributions.
Accumulating enough retirement income- Saving for retirement is important. You want to make sure that you have enough money to live on and 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, make sure you have online backups and keep your records (and your passwords) regularly updated.
Deciding where to live- Most people want to age 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 as a 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 passed on exactly as you wish. In addition, you would probably like to know 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 one, 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 do so yourself for 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.
Examples for Preliminary Instructions can include:
a. Is there a family member you support financially or otherwise that you would like to have continued, and state the time period for this.
b. Would you prefer to continue living at home with assistance or would you rather move into an old ages home, and if the latter applies, is there a specific home in mind.
c. Gifts to family for special occasions (birthday/weddings etc) that you would like to continue giving – to whom and how much.
When you are ready to start planning your will and/or EPA, I am here to assist. As an elder care attorney, I can advise you and your spouse or partner on legal issues and draw up the required documents.
It’s time for a new mindset when it comes to aging and life stages. By overcoming fear and opening ourselves to the possibilities, there is much we can do to ensure that old age will be our new stage of growth.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and is not a substitute for legal consultation. Specific legal advice should be sought in accordance with the particular circumstances.
Mirit Hoffman (Reif), a qualified Israeli attorney and a registered trust and estate practitioner (TEP), is the owner of Mirit Hoffman Law Office that deals mainly with wealth and estate planning (wills, trusts and EPA’s), and individual US & Israeli taxation. Mirit is qualified by the Administer General to advise, prepare and file EPA forms. She can be reached either by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 052-2407-999.