Long-term senior planning can be an uncomfortable or sensitive topic for many people, as it involves planning both for long-term care that one might need later in life as well as an estate plan that best fulfills one’s wishes after they have passed away.
Arranging this type of care and planning for a family member can be both intimidating as well as emotionally and financially taxing. Molly Howell shared about her experience as a client of NC Planning, an estate planning firm based in Raleigh, North Carolina:
“My senior planning experience happened a couple of years ago when I was forced to deal with my mother’s Medicaid eligibility and residency planning. While I was there, I knew I needed to redo my estate plan. Our lives are complicated. There are other people involved, and you need a law firm or an attorney who really specializes in estate planning since that can include a number of different legal situations and documents. You really need someone that can help create the full picture, because there are multiple pieces to your life. When I did my own estate planning, my attorney covered a multitude of different scenarios and documents that might come into play.”
Howell also encourages people not to shy away from the topic of long-term care and estate planning, even if it is difficult.
“People don’t want to particularly talk about death, they don’t want to talk about finality — that’s just a very uncomfortable topic. I know that everyone at NC planning has been so sensitive to that and they present the reasons why it’s important, and they support you,” said Howell. “It’s so important not to let the topic keep you from having those conversations.”
Planning for her mother’s estate helped Howell to understand the importance of having a plan in place as soon as possible. As life is continuously changing, she has also been able to revisit her plan and change it as needed through her attorney. Howell’s attorney went through a list of questions with her, such as if she had properties or valuable assets, a financial portfolio, or important heirlooms. They then created a comprehensive estate plan tailored to her needs.
When people put off estate planning, family members often have to guess about what type of long-term care they would want or who should receive what assets. By not waiting until the last minute to meet with an attorney to create her estate plan, Howell found peace of mind knowing her wishes will be carried out later in life.
“This can be overwhelming if you have a very complicated life, and everybody’s complicated in their own way. At NC Planning, they know that it may take time to get everything together, so they sit down with you and make a timeframe. I was under some stress trying to close my parents’ estate when I went to them, and they were helpful and said, ‘Let’s do this one step at a time,’” said Howell. “Some of this stuff is very complicated, and you have to take time to figure it out. An estate is a living and evolving document, and so an attorney can be with you throughout the process to remind you and help you make changes when you need them.”
For assistance creating or updating your estate plan, contact us at Wilson and Wilson Estate Planning and Elder Law, LLC at 708 482 7090 for our main office in LaGrange, Illinois or at 847 656 8958 for our Northbrook, Illinois office.