Make Your Wishes Clear While You Are Well
By Tamra K. Waltemath, P.C. ~
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. To all of you who have read my articles, I hope my articles have given you food for thought. To all of you who have become my clients, thank you for your support. I appreciate your business and the opportunity to be of service to you. I hope you and your families have a warm and loving Holiday and New Year.
I believe the month of December is a month to spend time with friends and family. Listen with the intent to understand; not just the intent to reply. This is a time to share what we have with others. I believe giving nurtures the soul of the giver. Giving makes you feel good; a gift to yourself. Nothing else can take our minds off our own troubles like helping others. I encourage you to visit a homebound friend or relative this month. It may be the best gift you give to yourself.
Everything is becoming so complicated. Parents used to live with their children and their grandchildren which resulted in families knowing what their parent’s wishes were regarding end of life decisions. In 1850, 70% of white elderly adults lived with their children; by 1950, only 20% of the U.S. population lived in multigenerational homes. In the last one hundred years, we have been placing our elderly in facilities. Living apart from our elderly makes it more difficult to have meaningful conversations about what they want during their last years and after their death. Physical and emotional distance makes it difficult for children to face their elderly parent’s decline and death. Those that are distanced do not understand their parents suffering and want to come home to “fix things.” The children who live close by the parents and are trying to help them are often unappreciated by the family that lives far away. This may cause a lot of discord during the Holidays and at the death of a parent.
One of the best gifts you can give to your children is a will or a trust that you put together while you are well. Tell your children what your wishes are regarding end of life decisions. If you want to reward a child for taking care of you in your later years, make that wish known to all of your children so there are no hard feelings after your death. And if you have been married more than once, please see an attorney about how your assets will be distributed at death. Many people are unaware that if they own all their property jointly with their spouse that their children from a previous marriage may receive nothing at their death. Naming your children as contingent beneficiaries is meaningless upon your death unless your primary beneficiary dies before you. If you leave all your property to your spouse, it is your spouse’s will or beneficiary designations that will determine to whom all joint assets are distributed at their death. It is so hard to talk about these issues, but it is so important if you want your wishes to be carried out after your death.
This article was written by Tamra K Waltemath of Tamra K. Waltemath, P.C. This information is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For specific questions, you should consult a qualified attorney. Tamra K. Waltemath is an elder law attorney focusing on wills, trusts, estate and trust administration, probate and non-probate transfers, guardianships and conservatorships. She can be contacted at: Tamra K. Waltemath, P.C., 3843 West 73rd Avenue, Westminster, CO 80030; 303-657-0360; or visit her website at: www.WaltemathLawOffice.com.