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Making significant decisions regarding end-of-life care and estate preparation during one's final days or weeks is a practice known as "deathbed planning" that is widespread. Deathbed preparation may seem like a proactive way to prepare financially for death, but it can actually cause more stress and anguish for the dying person and their loved ones.

One of the main reasons why deathbed planning can cause additional grief is because it often involves rushed decision-making. As someone is towards the end of their life, they could feel under pressure to decide on major issues quickly without carefully weighing all of their options or consulting with reliable advisors. This may result in choices that go against the person's wishes or ideals, which can be particularly difficult for surviving family members to accept.

In addition to causing emotional distress for the dying individual, deathbed planning can also create tension and conflict among family members. Important decisions shouldn't be made in a hurry or without involvement from all parties; doing so can result in conflicts and resentment. Family members may feel remorse or guilt for not being able to reach an agreement, making it even harder to settle these disputes after the individual passes away.

Another potential consequence of deathbed planning is that it may not allow for the dying individual to fully express their wishes and desires. The individual might not have the chance to express their views in a way that is complete and clear when judgments are made fast and under pressure. When the individual has died away, this may cause confusion and ambiguity among surviving family members and potentially give rise to legal issues regarding the person's estate or end-of-life care.

Potential sources of added grief in deathbed planning is the sense of missed opportunities. It's only normal to desire to finish up any unfinished business and settle any outstanding disputes or concerns when someone is nearing the end of their life. But given the pressure of a tight schedule and emotional exhaustion, this can be challenging to accomplish. Family members may regret not having more time to say goodbye or to express their feelings. They may feel guilty about past disagreements or missed chances to connect. These feelings can linger long after the person has passed, adding to the overall grief and emotional burden.

Deathbed preparation can also make family members feel guilty and regretful because they believe they could have done more to help their loved one get ready to pass away. They may feel like they could have prevented some of the stress and chaos if they had encouraged their loved one to plan earlier.

So what can be done to avoid the potential pitfalls of deathbed planning? One option is to engage in advance care planning and estate planning well before the end of life. People can make sure that their wishes are conveyed clearly and that their loved ones are aware of their desires by making decisions and drafting documentation in advance. This can lessen some of the emotional strain that comes with facing death and can also assist to avoid arguments and misunderstandings within the family.

Another choice is to ask experts like lawyers, financial advisors, and healthcare specialists for advice. Making crucial decisions about end-of-life care and estate preparation might benefit greatly from the counsel and assistance of these professionals. Also, they can assist in making sure that all legal requirements are satisfied and that the person's desires are clearly expressed in writing.

Deathbed planning can be a difficult and emotionally taxing experience for both the dying individual and their loved ones. Individuals can ensure that their desires are well conveyed and that their loved ones are ready for the possibilities of death by engaging in advance care planning and estate planning well before the end of life. This can bring everyone involved some peace of mind and assist to lessen some of the stress and anguish connected with making plans for one's deathbed.

Alzheimer's planning

A lot of people think that estate planning begins and ends with the financial part of the equation, but this is really not the case. It is also important to address eventualities that you may face toward the end of your life, such as incapacity or incompetency. They are not especially pleasant to consider, but a difficult situation can be much worse if you enter into it when you are completely unprepared.

Aging Statistics

The population is aging rapidly because of the fact that the baby boomer generation is attaining senior citizen status. Of course, if you plan ahead effectively for retirement, your “golden years” can be full of travel, leisure activities, and quality time with your family.

This is something to look forward to, but once you reach the age of full Social Security eligibility, your life expectancy will be 85 if you are a man, and 87 if you are a woman. The United States Census Bureau has found that the segment of the population that is between 85 and 94 years of age is growing faster than any other.

When you put these numbers into perspective, you can see that there is a very good chance that you will experience life as an octogenarian.

The Ubiquity of Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a condition that we have all heard about, but when you look into it a bit, its widespread nature is quite surprising. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, one in 10 people that are 65 and older have contracted this disease. It strikes someone every 65 seconds, and by 2050, it is projected that 13.8 million American seniors will be suffering from Alzheimer’s.

This disease causes dementia and incapacity for seniors and come in many different forms. Clearly, the potential for latter life incapacity is something that everyone should take quite seriously.

What Can You Do?

There are a number of different steps that you can take to prepare yourself for possible incapacity, starting with the creation of a living trust. Many people think that a last will is the right choice as an asset transfer vehicle if you are not extremely wealthy. In fact, a living trust is a better choice for a number of different reasons.

We will cover all of them in a different blog post, but one of the advantages that you can gain if you use a living trust is the ability to prepare for incapacitation. While you are alive, you can act as the trustee of your living trust. In the trust declaration, you can name a disability trustee that would be empowered to administer the trust if you are still living, but incapacitated.

Your incapacity plan could include a durable power of attorney for property, which would give the agent the ability to manage your financial affairs. A durable power of attorney is another document that can be used to address incompetency later in life. This document gives an agent or attorney-in-fact the ability to make legally binding decisions on your behalf. You could execute one of these documents if you don’t have a living trust, and it would be useful even if you do, because you could have property in your personal possession that was never conveyed into the trust. A durable power of attorney for health care decisions should be part of incapacity planning.

In order for the health care agent to be able to make sound decisions, he or she must have access to your medical records. They are kept private unless you sign a HIPAA release form, so this is another piece to the puzzle.

How would you feel about being kept alive indefinitely through the utilization of artificial life-sustaining measures if there was no hope of recovery? You can answer this question through the inclusion of a living will.

Attend a Free Webinars!

If you would like to learn more about all aspects of estate planning, attend one of our upcoming Webinars. There is no admission charge, and you can check out our Webinars schedule page to get all the details.





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