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September 6th, 2023
Are you setting your affairs in order? What does that mean? And how will it make you worry-free? Many of us are too busy living a full life to plan for what happens after our death. Furthermore, thinking about it is considered morbid and something we actively avoid.
It’s easy in our 20s to ignore the wisdom of preparing for the future. But there are important reasons to set our affairs in order, no matter what age. First of all, none of us has a guarantee of tomorrow. Secondly, as we get older and have children and grandchildren who are dependent on us, we worry about what will happen after we die. The years speed by, and we often find ourselves too busy to plan, but there’s always that niggling worry in our minds that we have left something undone. And lastly, the most loving thing we can do for our family is to legally document what will happen to our belongings and equity when we are gone.
If setting our affairs in order is important when we are 20, it becomes urgent when we are older. As a leading senior living community, CRISTA Senior Living recognize that residents live worry-free lives once they’ve planned for the future. Taking control now to provide for their loved ones brings peace of mind. So, let’s get started! Here’s what you need to do to set your affairs in order.
Creating a Will is one of the most crucial steps in organizing your affairs. A will is a legal document that outlines your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets after you die. It ensures that your belongings go to the people you intend them to and can prevent unnecessary disputes among family members.
ACTION STEPS: Consult an estate planning attorney to create a legally binding Will that outlines your wishes for asset distribution. Name an executor who will carry out your instructions as stated in your Will. Review and update your Will periodically to reflect any changes in your circumstances.
Granting power of attorney to a trusted individual allows them to make legal and financial decisions on your behalf. Power of attorney ensures that someone you trust can act in your best interest, handle financial matters, pay bills, and make healthcare decisions if you cannot.
ACTION STEPS: Designate a trusted individual as your power of attorney, granting them authority to make legal and financial decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. Discuss your preferences and expectations with your chosen power of attorney.
It can take months for executors and family members to locate important documents necessary for probate. These include birth certificates, social security information, passports, insurance policies, property deeds, investment statements, and a copy of your Will. Having these documents readily available and in one place makes it easier for your loved ones and reduces stress during an already challenging time.
ACTION STEPS: Gather and organize all essential documents in a safe place that is easily accessible. Keep them in a fireproof container and be sure to take them with you in an emergency situation when they could become damaged. Inform the executor of your estate about their location.
Making healthcare-related decisions in advance and putting them down in an Advanced Healthcare Directive allows you to express your preferences for medical treatments and end-of-life care. This is important for you, and perhaps even more important for those who love you because it makes decisions easier for them. If your children know whether or not you want life support, they will be able to authorize your medical team without guilt or doubting their own decisions. And that is only one of many decisions they will need to make.
ACTION STEPS: Appoint a healthcare proxy who can advocate for your wishes if you’re unable to communicate them yourself. Discuss your healthcare needs with your family, healthcare providers, and attorney to ensure they address them.
Regularly review your insurance policies, including health, life, and long-term care insurance. Ensure that you have adequate coverage to protect yourself and your loved ones. Understand the terms, benefits, and limitations of each policy and make necessary adjustments if needed.
ACTION STEPS: Consult an insurance professional to evaluate your options and make informed decisions. Change your coverage when appropriate. For example, it was important to have a high level of life insurance when your children were young, but now you may not need as much.
Evaluate your financial situation and consult with a financial advisor. Review your budget, income sources, and expenses regularly. Make sure to plan for managing your finances as you age, including living in a senior living community such as [CRISTA Senior Living](http://cristaseniorliving.org “CRISTA Senior Living) and any potential long-term care costs. Proactively planning can provide stability and help you maintain control over your finances.
ACTION STEPS: Get out of debt. Build up an emergency savings account. Invest wisely and regularly through your work and privately. As a retiree, review your finances regularly with your financial advisor.
To make things as easy as possible for your spouse and children after you pass away, consider the following:
Make your funeral and burial arrangements now and pay for them in advance. Be sure to tell your loved ones what you want. Write down the elements of a Celebration of Life service that are most important to you.
If you have favorite charities, consider including them in your estate planning.
If you have a child with a disability, designate a guardian who will care for them when you die. Consider setting up a Special Needs Trust to provide for them.
These items serve as a starting point. When getting your affairs in order, be willing to get professional help. Legally binding documents that express your desires mean you can be worry-free because you have done what is needed for your loved ones.
At CRISTA Senior Living, we make life as worry-free as possible. Find out more on our website and visit our beautiful campuses in Shoreline, WA and Silverdale, WA.
I would like to commend Cristwood Park staff on their efforts to protect themselves and their residents from COVID. It’s been a concern of ours since last March and we have been relieved to see so few cases in the Cristwood Park community. I would like to thank the staff and leadership for their diligence in maintaining good protocols throughout this pandemic.
CWP Family Member
CRISTA has been a warm, friendly atmosphere to be a part of these past two years. It encourages friendships that encourage a pleasant living environment.
Marty Victor, CWP
Exceptional personalized holistic care. Helps keep Mom’s mind active and she flourishes with the nurturing care. Especially of value currently given the COVID restrictions. We are genuinely pleased with our mom's care.
Resident's Daughter, Memory Care
Thinking back on all the great care you and your team have given her at CRISTA, we thank you for all that. I am sure it made a difference in the quality of her life.
I appreciate the personal relationship I have with the staff and the good communication they give me.
I am so stunned by all the amazing people who live at CRISTA. The depth of their stories, their experiences are so powerful. They are fascinating and I learn something new every day! Such a wealth of intellect, experiences, and fun loving people. I love living here.
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