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Incapacitation and Inevitable Incidents

December 27th, 2014 at 11:30 pm

This month has been a whirlwind of financial gains, learning, and reality checks all of which I am grateful for. I think I am almost done finalizing my 2015 goals thanks to the input on these boards and the books I have been reading. Surprisingly it has been reading Suze Orman’s book Women & Money that made me realize that preparing for the unavoidable is a huge part of financial planning when I guess it always seemed like something else to me. What I am not sure, but something else. I have always known it was important to designate beneficiaries for things, that I will care for my mom in her golden years, and I should ponder my own end of life care but since I am only in my 30s I have not really figured out all the details yet.

The book discusses the benefit of having a will, a revocable living trust with an incapacity clause, an executor for your estate, an advanced directive, and a durable power of attorney for health care. There are likely other options or documents not discussed, but just this much information was about all I could take in. Why this type of preparation is helpful makes sense especially since I have repeatedly seen the agony families go through without this type of planning. I realize I do not have to rush to do this stuff as my health is fine, I have practically no assets right now, and no one is currently dependent on my income. I do think it is good to have this topic floating around in my head though.

You know what is terrifying? The fact that when my situation changes and the need for these documents becomes more urgent I do not have anyone to handle any of these things if something did happen to me. When it comes to my mom I can count on her to want to do the right thing, but to be completely lost in all the documents, legalese, and grief that she will just fall apart and do nothing. Generally in times of crisis I handle everything and she is comfortable letting me make all the decisions and explaining options to her. There is no other me in our family. I have a sister, but I would not trust her with a rock let alone my estate, health, or finances. I have a large extended family, but we are not close-knit and instead just see each other a couple times a year. They are not really trustworthy anyway. I do not have any close friends that I could ask to handle these kinds of circumstances either.

What do single people do in these situations? Sure things could change in the future and I may get married, but what if I do not or I outlive my husband? It seems like regardless I am supposed to have this person who will handle my affairs and fight for my best interests and I have no idea where such a person is supposed to come from.

6 Responses to “Incapacitation and Inevitable Incidents”

  1. PatientSaver Says:

    Being single with no kids, I'm in the same boat as you, only I'm quite a bit older. It is not easy being the sole provider/caretaker for a loved one, but it makes it easier if the loved one goes along with your suggestions/recommendations. I also often wonder what will become of me when I'm much older, especially, God forbid, if I should develop dementia/Alzheimer's. Truth be told, I would rather not be around rather than slowly lose my mind.

    It's an unpleasant subject, but the best thing you could do, if you think it's possible you remain single, is to look into taking out a long-term care plan for yourself. I am guessing most people consider this when they're in their 50s or older; it might not make sense, cost-wise, for you to start now, although generally speaking premiums increase the older you get. Perhaps a good CFP could help you make sense of the choices.

    As for an executor, there, too, I'm in the same boat. I have one sibling and 2 half-brothers whom I'm not close to, and my few close friends are older than me, not younger. I have had a will for years, and I think my sister is named executor, only becus there seemed to be no one else. I think that some people name their attorney, the one who drew up the will, as executor. If that is a distinct possibility, shop around for one who's quite a bit younger than you so there's more chance they'll outlive you and will be around to execute your will. Make sure it's someone you trust and find out how much extra they would charge to serve in that capacity. See if you can document that somehow.

  2. doingitallwrong Says:

    Many attorneys specialize in estate planning and will act as your executor or successor trustee (in most cases a trust is preferable to a will, but check your state probate laws). Bank trust departments and trust companies will also serve in this capacity.

  3. LuckyRobin Says:

    What about a niece or nephew? Do you have any? They may be young now, but maybe one of them will grow up responsible? And just because your sister is irresponsible now, doesn't mean she won't grow up in the meanwhile. There was a time when I wouldn't have trusted one of my sisters any further than I can throw her. 25 years later she has changed remarkably.

  4. LittleMissSplendid Says:

    How nice to know I'm not the only one who thinks about this stuff. I swear I mention this to my single friends and they look at me like I have 3 heads. I did look into long term care insurance, but all the financial gurus say it isn't worth the money until I'm in my 50s even though it will cost more then. It is more cost effective now for me to fund my retirement/EF and get disability insurance, so I'm going with that advice. My hope is to make a lot more money in my 50s and be debt free so the cost of long term care insurance won't be a burden.

    I feel lukewarm about the idea of having an attorney handle things for me. It'd be cleaner and would keep my family from fighting or having a mess on their hands which is good. But I want them to care not just do the job coldly you know? I want them to respect the choices I made and execute them as if I'm whispering in their ear. Maybe that sounds silly I dunno. Regardless I will keep this an option for now since it is likely my best bet.

    As for my sister.... she is a topic that makes me so angry and disappointed I'll try to keep this brief. I don't think she'll ever grow up and be responsible enough to handle her own affairs or anyone else's. She'll be 30 in a few months and has spent her adult years mooching off her friends and state aid because she is lazy and expects to be taken care of. We weren't raised that way, she is fully capable of making something of herself, and the family will support her as long as she does something legal and respectable. Now she has foolishly just had a child (there's no dad, lord don't ask) she can't support (so I guess technically I do have a niece) and her plan is to just get more state aid since I have refused to help her and refuse to let my mom burden herself either.

    Yep according to my sister I'm a huge *rhymes with witch* for refusing to see how amazing her choices are (yeah I'm rolling my eyes too lol). Just to be clear, no one in our family is happy about her choices and she refuses to hear anyone that isn't just handing her cash or paying her bills. So no one should be surprised that I can't wait around hoping this child turns out well enough to handle my affairs given the example my sister is setting. We have pretty much no relationship now and I expect my connection to her child to be the same because it is so exhausting having to ignore her hints for financial help and she's already trying to use her child as a manipulation tool (its not working). Besides I'm having to devote my spare energy into getting my mom's affairs in order so that when the time comes I can just handle things (she's clear this is what she wants) and not have to deal with my sister. In 25 years my sister would be in her mid-50s and as much as I wish things were different I see her situation exactly as it is now or worse.

  5. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    I get where you're coming from. I've had some similar thoughts. The majority of my family is older or people I barely know anymore. I do have my brother who I have as my beneficiary on everything = and if I ever get around to making a will, he'd be my executor too.

  6. snafu Says:

    LMSplendid, I hope your mom has all the mentioned documents completed, and notarized to keep issues at bay in the future. There are so many issues to be dealt with at such an emotional time and even strangers try to mess with the situation. We used on-line forms as templates and took these to our lawyer for review and notarization. Costs way less and rather than give specific information about assets gave the information that was current and added a statement like...'or current residence,...current vehicles, current retirement funds for , current, portfolios, existing personal assets of value etc.' When we referred to specific people we added or their issue...'

    Since the clerk did the work, I concluded that if I decided to re-do or update any of these documents, I would have them reviewed by a paralegal and of course notarized. I would not have either of my late brothers as executors as much I loved them they were money morons. I've a codicil naming our youngest son executor and trust he will follow DH and my specific instructions diligently.

    I hope you'll not procrastinate and at the very least get a will, revocable trust and advanced care directive in place. You can name your mother or loans officer at your bank. These people get paid and you can state they are to be paid the current, moderate, hourly rate. A codicil will allow changes.

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