Most of us do not like thinking about death – whether that of ourselves or our loved ones. This is especially true for seniors, who may fear the end is not all that far away. As distasteful as the subject may be, there is one end-of-life matter that should not be ignored: creating a will. A last will and testament is a legal document that specifies the distribution of a person’s estate after death. A will may also include the gifting of property to specific persons, charities or organizations, and instructions for the deceased’s funeral and burial preferences.
Why is a Will Necessary?
A last will and testament is important because it details a person’s final wishes. In part, a last will designates beneficiaries – or persons who are to receive a specific gift or percentage of the deceased’s estate. Without a proper will, surviving relatives may end up fighting over what they believe is their “rightful” inheritance.
A last will also provides essential details of when and how beneficiaries will inherit the designated property, and who will be put in charge of settling the senior’s final affairs. Seniors who receive in-home care may benefit from a homecare system or homecare software to help keep them organized and on task as they prepare their will.
How to Prepare Your Will
"Drafting a will can be fairly simple, depending on the amount of assets you have and how you plan to divide your belongings among your heirs," said Mike Janko, executive director of the National Association of Financial and Estate Planning (NAFEP). You do not necessarily need a lawyer to draft a will for you. Certain law firms and websites offer “fill-in-the-blank” forms to help seniors draft their wills more easily. Check with your state for regulations, but typically for a will to be valid, it must be:
- Written entirely in your own handwriting
- Signed and dated
It’s also a good idea to have your will signed by two witnesses in order to prevent any disputes later on. Be sure that the will includes the full name and address of all beneficiaries, executor, and trustees. Caregivers that care for seniors at home with the help of a homecare system like ClearCare Online can access addresses of family members and other contacts through their homecare software.
While none of us relish the thought of the end of our lives, being prepared with a last will and testament now will eliminate anxiety later. It also relieves the burden from family members who may not know exactly what their senior relative’s last wishes are.
Preparing ahead is also a good idea when it comes to arranging for home care. Even if your senior relatives are able and healthy now, an unexpected injury or illness could occur at any moment. When interviewing potential home care agencies, be sure to ask what kind of homecare software or homecare system they offer. A point-of-care homecare system such as ClearCare Online not only provides real-time updates to family members, it also ensures quality care from a caregiver whose capabilities match your loved one’s specific needs. Caregivers using ClearCare Online’s homecare software clock in to their shifts using a sophisticated telephony system which lets you know that they are at your loved one’s home as scheduled.
For tips on introducing the idea of home care to your elderly loved ones, or to learn more about ClearCare Online’s homecare system and homecare software, check out our recent post Tips for Starting the Elder Care Conversation.