Challenges Facing Baby Boomers Illustrate Importance of Planning

Millions of baby boomers today are helping to care for aging parents. Whether it's handling healthcare needs or helping with the day-to-day aspects of life, baby boomers are serving as the stopgap for older parents who might not have anticipated their needs in advance. The pressure put on baby boomers in this situation highlights the importance of proper estate planning.

Many people caring for an older parent are doing so while juggling responsibilities of their own, like working full time and taking care of immediate family members. Some have even put their own health care on hold in order to care for a parent in the short term.

While people often underestimate the cost of retirement and the assistance they might need during this period, some proper planning in advance could help to relieve the amount of responsibility falling on adult children.

A study from AARP in 2010 shows that the ratio of possible caregivers for every person in the high risk category of 80 years or older was 7 to 1. By the year 2030, that number is expected to drop as far as 4 to 1 due to longer life spans, smaller families, and increasing rates of disability.

Relying on friends and family members for care probably shouldn't be the only approach towards retirement and old age planning.

Baby boomers are more likely than other generations to have disabilities later in life, possibly even impacting their ability to make decisions about their own care. Deciding to set an estate plan in place earlier on can give you peace of mind and ensure that no matter what happens in the future, you have some groundwork laid with your will, trusts, and other critical estate planning documents.

If you are prepared to get started with your own documents and planning, contact an Illinois estate planning attorney today.

Having the "Talk" with Your Kids

estate plan, children, Illinois, DuPage County, lawyer, attorneyA recent article in Daily Finance highlighted just how important it is for adults to discuss with their aging parents what plans are in place should the day come with one or both of the parents become incapacitated. Failure to plan for that future can have devastating consequences for both the parents and their families. It's critical for parents to formulate a plan for the future and share it with their adult children.

It's not always comfortable for parents to discuss finances with their offspring. According to Tim Prosch, author of the book The Other Talk: A Guide to Talking With Your Adult Children About the Rest of Your Life, there are three reasons that cause the difficulty many parent have when it comes to discussing these matter with their children.

The first is a form of denial. Discussing serious illnesses and death of a parent can be upsetting for children, even adult children, to think about. It's also hard for many people to handle the role-reversal that takes place in these situations. Suddenly, the child is taking care of the parent. That can also lead to the parent feeling as if they are no longer in control of their own life.

Prosch suggest one of the best ways to initiate the conversation is to work together to create a binder where all important documents will be kept. He told Daily Finance, "You need to include all the expected items like a will, medical and financial powers of attorney, do-not-resuscitate instructions, and funeral preferences. But you should also include other critical documentation like life insurance policies, birth and marriage certificates, tax returns, and lists of medicines and the doctors who prescribed them."

Some of the items, besides wills and trusts, you may want to consider when planning your estate out for the future include special needs trusts, health care and financial powers of attorney and living wills. Contact an experienced DuPage County estate planning attorney to help you secure your future.

Three Simple Steps for Planning Your Estate

An organized estate is one of the most important gifts you can leave your survivors. Spending time now to plan and document your wishes can help your loved ones cope, and make things easier for them. Each state is different, but this simple checklist will help you get started with estate planning in Illinois.

  1. Estate planning in IllinoisPlan for life – Before you begin planning for your estate, you'll want to put together a few things that will help your family should you become ill. A durable power of attorney and a living will can help smooth the way for family should you become ill or incapacitated. You should also ensure that you are carrying the proper health insurance.
  2. Get organized – Organize your financial records and create a detailed list of financial accounts, loan payments, and other debts. File important documents in a safe place, and include instructions in your will telling survivors where to find them. Create a document listing your personal data, including your VA claim number (if you have one), as well as the names and phone numbers of family members who should be contacted.
  3. Plan your estate – Create a will, and include a letter of instruction telling survivors your wishes for what procedures you want followed regarding your funeral. Establish a trust or special-needs trust for children if necessary. Make arrangements for transferring any business assets you may have. Review your IRA, 401(k), and retirement plans for beneficiary benefits, and include instructions for what survivors need to do to get them. This will also need to be done for life insurance.

Of course, this list is very basic, and many of the documents mentioned should not be written on your own and will require a professional. If you are ready to begin planning your estate, contact a qualified Illinois estate planning attorney for assistance right away.