By David Zumpano
No one wants to be a burden to their loved ones, but many do so because they don’t understand what causes it and how it can be prevented.
Let me explain.
When you are alive and well, you are autonomous. As we age however, we are able to do less but remain insistent on maintaining our independence. Sometimes we become obstinate and choose not to address the many challenges that people see in us. The truth is, we become scared and fearful of losing our autonomy. Unfortunately that fear is the very thing that leads to what we fear most, loss of our independence.
Failure to address our frailty early on, and as it develops, leads to a “crash” that often requires outside care, which burdens your family and, worse, loss of your personal autonomy and possibly your lifetime of assets.
Three things are required to avoid loss of your autonomy: first that you plan as soon as the fear or worry begins (it will actually eliminate fear and worry). Second, get the legal documents to authorize the people you love to act on your behalf if and when you can’t — and be sure you not just grant the authority, but also provide your instructions how you want the authority used to provide for you. Third, communicate your wishes to those you have granted the authority.
A good estate-planning attorney will guide you to accomplish these three things so you can maintain your independence and never become a burden to those you love.
David J. Zumpano is an attorney and a certified public accountant (CPA). He operates Estate Planning Law Center. He can be reached at 315-793-3622.