Dying at home can be traumatic for loved ones. We long for a peaceful walk into a beautiful sunset. But most have never seen anyone die and that first indelible experience will stick with us. We may wish to die in our sleep, suffer an accident where we “never knew what happened” or drop dead while enjoying a favorite activity. But the odds are even — just as many people suffer and fight death to the last breath. Loved ones who witness such death throes simply don’t talk about it.
Is estate planning really all about “who gets my stuff”? Your assets may be important, but when you sift through the reasons for doing estate planning, you may find that identifying who gets your stuff takes a distant back seat to far more important considerations.
It is not just families who disagree about the interpretation of legal documents. There seems to be tension among estate planning attorneys in regard to recommending that clients write down their heartfelt intentions to accompany those documents. Many lawyers believe that it is the form that is most important — that the written legal language will communicate their client’s heartfelt wishes. Others believe that, no matter how carefully written, the form alone cannot transfer intention.
Only one out of every 44 cases of financial abuse among the elderly ever gets reported and even fewer make it to trial. This is the true story of one of those cases.