When you love someone with dementia, you lose the same person twice.
As defined by the Mayo Clinic, Dementia is a group of symptoms that affect memory, thinking, and social abilities. Several different diseases cause dementia Alzheimer’s is one of the most common and well-known forms of dementia.
At Rebecca Mason Law, we counsel many clients through the heartbreaking process of losing a loved one to dementia. It is one of the most difficult things a family can experience.
The early stages are some of the hardest as you watch your loved one’s memory fade in and out. In the beginning, many struggle with knowing their memory is fading and that there is nothing they can do to stop it. Some become belligerent and violent. While others withdraw.
As dementia progresses, the brain slowly dies. Many come to a point where they cannot recognize their loved ones.
My grandma suffered from dementia. Near the end of her life, she had no idea who I was — but she could recite word for word the commencement speech she gave to her 8th grade class nearly 80 years prior. She would ask me why her grandchildren never visited her.
It is hard. There is no fix and no easy way to get through Dementia. You grieve when they forget who you are. You grieve every time they don’t remember your face, every time you have to reintroduce yourself, every time have a conversation with your loved one about yourself as if you are not you. And again when they physically die.
Women control more private wealth than ever before. According to the Boston Consulting Group, in 2010, women controlled approximately $34 Trillion of the private wealth. By 2020, we are expected to control $72 Trillion of the private wealth, which represents a full 1/3 of all private wealth.
How is wealth shifting to women?
Women are increasingly business owners, entrepreneurs, primary or sole breadwinners, and are likely be the surviving matriarchs of our families:
There are approximately 10.6 Million women-owned businesses in the
United States – and women are responsible for 70% of all new business startups
in the United States.
In families that have a husband and wife, 40% of wives now make
more than their husbands.
Two out of three women over 75 are single – many due to the death
of spouse, as women frequently outlive their husbands.
The Great Wealth Transfer is coming
In the next 25 years, it is anticipated that 45 Million families in the U.S. will transfer 68 Trillion from the Baby Boomer generation to the next generations. As a result of women living longer, most of the private wealth that changes hands in the coming decades is likely to go to women.
Yet, the wealth management industry has historically focused on
male clients. Perhaps that is why many
women do not engage in financial planning or wealth management. Interestingly, however, of women who
increased their involvement in their financial affairs, 90% reported an
increase in their quality of life. It is empowering to take control over
your finances. Seek out one who is a good fit for you.
Estate planning lawyers have similarly catered to males. Not surprisingly, studies show that 70% of widows
change their estate planning attorney after the death of their husband. I see this frequently in my estate planning
practice with many widows choosing to move their business to my firm. Often because they want to work with a woman-owned
firm. Just as frequently, it is because
we treat them with dignity and do not assume they lack sophistication simply
because they are women.
The shift in wealth is in process.
From one generation to the next.
And women stand to benefit greatly over the next few decades. For women, having a plan to manage our wealth
and to protect our legacy is critically important.
of protecting our legacy is ensuring that our money supports the people we love
and the causes we are passionate about.
Once you have hired that wealth management or financial planning
professional, you can work with them to see how best to grow and preserve
wealth for your children and how to best support the charities that align with
your values. Then turn to your estate planning
lawyer to help you make sure that your wealth transfers seamlessly to the next
generation and that the charities you currently support are not forgotten.
Blog Post: Leveling the Playing Field by: Boston Consulting Group
So much of estate planning focuses on the more obvious assets. For example, your home, bank accounts, and investments. But don’t make the mistake of forgetting about your personal property.
It’s unlikely your loved ones are going to want all (any?) of your stuff. Generationally we are all very different. For example, many Millennials seem to be more agile preferring to live minimally, and able to move across the country for an opportunity. Boomers and Gen X are equally as disparate. Think about what your family would really want to safeguard and what they may need to sell in an estate sale for example.
“Estate planning is often about making it simple for your loved ones to manage your affairs.”
Does your health care POA provide guidance for care?
Your health care power of attorney is one of the most
important parts of your estate plan. When we prepare this for our clients, we
include a four-page memo that walks through various questions about your
desires for your health care.
Importantly, we also include discussion topics (if you could plan it today, what would the last day or week of your life be like?). So we consider all of these scenarios with specific questions about which types of treatments you would or would not want. Imagine a serious diagnosis of X disease. Would you want a treatment that would result in severe pain and nausea for 2-3 months? Would you be willing to endure the side effects if the chance of regaining your health was 1%? More than 20%? More than 50%?
We encourage our clients to go through the memo with their named agent to give their agent peace of mind when the time comes to decide about their health care. It’s a tough conversation, but meaningful. As a result you find out a lot about yourself and your loved ones.
The Motley Fool Agrees
“Health care and financial power of attorney documents are the most important parts of nearly every estate plan. How you want to live, and how you want to die, are very personal decisions.”
Do you already have an idea of what you want in your Estate Plan?
Our flat fee pricing structure helps make this option more viable. So if you are on top of things and already have your plan in place, a well-crafted estate plan is a fantastic gift to give.
Planning for your estate and end of life care can fall to the back burner while juggling daily pressures and priorities. However, planning ensures that your wishes are known and followed by your loved ones in the event of a crisis or emergency. Consider these questions when beginning a discussion with family members:
to consider in your Estate plan or conversations with family:
Do you have a will? Where is it? Do family members have access?
Do you have an advanced directive, such as a living will? Or health care durable power of attorney? Where is it?
Who has your power of attorney? Is it the executor of your estate? How can he/she be contacted?
Have you selected a funeral home? Planned or paid for a burial site?
What is the location of essential personal papers?
Dissolution of marriage
Military service records
Where do you keep life, health, property, and long-term care insurance policies?
Where is your checkbook? What bank do you use?
Do you have a safe deposit box? Where is it, and is the key accessible? Do you have a list of contents? And do family members have access?
Have you made a list of investments (savings accounts, certificates of deposit, stocks and bonds, etc.)?
Have you considered including a plan for your digital records and assets in your estate planning for example?
What are the names and contact information of the financial advisers/institutions that have the investments?
Interesting Estate Planning Articles:
The Estate Planning Gift To Give Your Millennial Children In 2019
“For the Gen X and Millennial generations, estate planning might be the last thing on their mind. Overwhelmed by debt and trying to get their day to day financial lives on the right path, the nagging of their parents might make them resistant to following their advice. There’s one thing Boomers can do to ensure their children do the right thing when it comes to estate planning: they can make a gift of estate planning to their adult child”
Bob CarlsonContributorRetirement I research/write about all facets of retirement/retirement planning.
Why a Trust Is a Great Estate-Planning Tool — Even if You’re Not Rich
“Although there are dozens of types of trusts, the most common trust used for these purposes is a revocable living trust. Such a trust allows you—the grantor—to specify exactly how your estate will be distributed to your beneficiaries when you die, and in the process can avoid probate and heartache.”
Thank you for reading! Do you have friends or loved ones who could benefit from this content? Please comment below and consider sharing from our site at the bottom. We would love your comments too! – The Team @ Rebecca Mason Law
I am honored to have served as the City of Racine Municipal Judge. Above all, I am proud of what we were able to accomplish. However, while I was serving as a part-time judge, my Racine law practice was also growing substantially.
As a result, I have decided to step down from the bench. This was not an easy decision to make. My decision, in part, was to be able to focus more on my law practice and provide our clients with exceptional estate planning and probate services.
We are about half-way through this years Tax season. Did you know the recent changes to the tax laws may impact your estate plan? These changes may have not been anticipated when you created or last reviewed your plan.
A well-crafted estate plan can help minimize estate taxes. And strategically handle your assets when you pass. But these documents can become outdated. Especially when there are significant changes to the law, to your assets, or to your family.
Even if you are not affected by the changes to the tax laws during this years tax season. While you are gathering your financial paperwork from the last year to give to your accountant. You can use many of those same documents to make a list of the current state of your assets – such as bank accounts, investments, life insurance, real estate, etc.
The list of your assets will inform and direct your discussion with your attorney, allowing you to compare this information to what you had when you executed your last estate plan. If you have never executed an estate plan, you can use the information to begin the process of creating your first estate plan, during this years tax season.