Dear Elderly Family Member:
The other day I went to the financial planner’s office and said I needed some information about retirement annuities. When he started to ask about my finances I interrupted and said no, you don’t understand, I am gathering information to help my elderly relatives with their estate plan.
It was embarrassing to hear him laugh so hard.
I had always thought that when I reached this age I would be the elder in the family. I would have already experienced life at its worst and its best, and would be ready to impart those lessons to the eagerly-awaiting next generation. I would be retired, living comfortably on social security and income from my well-invested savings. I would be surrounded by loving friends and family.
My rocking chair on the porch would beckon.
Instead, I find myself part of a cliché-ridden group. I am neither the wisest nor the oldest in my family tree. I am on the emergency call list for both the grade school and the nursing home. I am smack-dab in the middle of the generational divide, and there is no end in sight. I’ve got kids to the left of me and seniors to the right.
The reason? You, the older generation, are living longer. You are working longer. And you are enjoying it.
For most of you, it is no longer enough for you to simply exist. You are demanding, and receiving, more out of housing, medicine and society. You are redefining life for the rest of us.
If all of this has caused my plans to go astray, then I can just imagine what it has done to your plans. Few people who were born in the first half of the 20th century thought that they would see 80 and beyond. A male born in 1900 had a life expectancy at 65 years old of 13.5 years. A male born in 2001 has a life expectancy at 65 years old of 20.5 years. 1
We need to adjust. You go first.
Plans, you need to make plans and then share them with me. You aren’t getting any younger. You can’t foresee the future, and I won’t hold you to it, but having a contingency plan just in case you have to stop driving would be nice. So would making a plan just in case you become forgetful, can’t climb stairs, break a hip, or come down with some dreaded disease. Don’t leave it up to me to find a burial plot for you or guess if you want a feeding tube after your fifth stroke. There is nothing fun about frantically calling banks and financial companies to find your accounts.
Once my financial planner stopped laughing, we got down to business. I told him that I loved my elderly relatives and was so happy they were part of my life.
And I meant it.
Work with me. It is darned lonely in the middle.
Hammerle Finley Law Firm. Give us a call. We can help.
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The information contained in this article is general information only and does not constitute legal advice.