As a general rule, the baby boomer generation has enjoyed greater financial success than subsequent generations, but as Washington residents may know from experience, the disparity between generations has also meant that the fruits of that success often end up going toward the ongoing welfare of children rather than the future needs of parents. Financial planners are increasingly warning baby boomers against putting off activities that may be essential to handling critical issues in later years.
The Seattle area hosts a diverse population representing a wide variety of religious backgrounds. As upcoming generations face increasing exposure to a range of ideologies, parents may encounter concerns that their spiritual traditions will not be carried on by their children.
Last week's post, "Estate plans for King County's changing needs," reminded readers in the Seattle area about the importance of long-term care planning as American life expectancy continues to increase. A recent study about conflicting attitudes among doctors regarding end-of-life care further illustrates the importance of thoughtful and comprehensive estate planning as it relates to carrying out end-of-life wishes.
Yes, issues of estate planning may not be every family's favorite topic of discussion, but residents in the Seattle area would be wise not to push to the wayside important decisions regarding wills, trusts, long-term care planning, power of attorney and other estate planning issues. To help expedite the process, a discussion of a celebrity's particular estate plan can often ease the discomfort some family members feel with regard to end-of-life wishes.
Before the Internet, when a person passed away, an estate-planning attorney might come to the family's house, review the relevant paperwork, and keep an eye out for any bills that might arrive in the mail. But now that many people in Seattle do their financial business, including the filing of taxes, online, estate planning may be more complicated now than it ever was.
For many Washington residents, caring for loved ones with special needs may be especially difficult in these tough economic times. In addition to the cost of care, all manner of other bills are piling up. However, experts say that, as difficult as it may seem, families that are providing for loved ones with special needs should also do their best to plan for the long term. Doing so is a good idea not only for loved ones with special needs but also for the caregivers' retirement. For example, advance directives, end-of-life wishes, and a living will should all be considered when estate planning becomes a reality.One of the more important reasons people are now seeking estate planning for those with special needs is that the bad economy has resulted in reduced incomes for caregivers, as jobs have been lost or hours cut. This reduction in income can make things very difficult for many families, especially those that are caring for loved ones. Estate planning allows families to get control over what they may be facing in the future, as well as make plans to address those issues.
A living will expresses a person's exact wishes for medical care if he or she is unable to communicate with physicians. But since middle-aged individuals, including many Seattle residents, still feel very young and healthy, such end-of-life documents would seem to be something that people in their middle ages wouldn't be too concerned about. With that in mind, Washington residents may be interested in a recent poll that found that 64 percent of baby boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, said they don't have a living will.Yet, regardless of age or health, carefully spelling out one's end-of-life wishes can be a good idea for anyone. A living will enables individuals to say just how much or how little they want in medical treatment if they are in a state in which they cannot speak for themselves. A living will can also spare families otherwise painful decisions regarding the application or withdrawal of medical treatment.
Many Seattle residents have probably heard at least one horror story of the financial abuse of an elder. Unfortunately, these issues are becoming more common with an increasing growth in the elder population. Recent reports have highlighted a service extended for a short time in early November to assist elders with financial advice that could prevent this kind of financial abuse and create positive benefits, one of which being the preservation of a living will.