ADVICE FOR YOUR BUCKET LIST

Do you know what a bucket list is? Most people think it is a list of things you want to do before you die. A typical guess is people want to visit a particular place before dying. Based on an unscientific poll about bucket lists, that is not a bad guess. Travel appears to be a frequent bucket list ambition.  Anne is an American who is proud her ancestors lived for centuries on the group of small islands in the English Channel between the southern coast of England and mainland Europe.

REDUCE STRESS, INCREASE ENJOYMENT FOR A HAPPY 2018

Family caregivers provide practical assistance and enhance the quality of life for frail seniors who might otherwise require placement in a long-term-care facility. Typically, caregivers are spouses or adult children, many of whom are seniors themselves. Their role involves physical, psychological, emotional and financial demands. It can be a heavy load.  If you are a caregiver, consider the following strategies for not only surviving but thriving in the year ahead.

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DISCOVER A LOVE OF LIFELONG LEARNING

Curiosity, exploring interests and engagement are a few crucial ingredients to healthy and happy longevity. Enrolling in a class just for the love of learning is a great way to do this. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of Kentucky offers educational and enrichment courses, forums, shared interest groups, trips and more for adults age 50 years and older. Membership for the full year is $25; summer programs are at a prorated fee.

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lapse. Under your state’s laws, your property may go to people you did not want to inherit your possessions.


Wills are criticized sometimes because they must go through probate. It is true probate takes time and can be expensive. However, such difficulties are often overstated. It is true wills are public documents. There are people who deal in distressed property who search public records hoping to buy things on the cheap from grieving relatives.


Now is the time to make your will. The sooner you make an estate plan, the better. Do not think because you are young, your estate plan can wait. Don’t leave your relatives wondering what you would have wanted done or, as in my family’s case, wondering how to manage an awkward situation that could have been avoided by the existence of a simple, written will.

A will is the legal declaration of what a person wants done with his or her possessions after his or her death. The person making the will is called the testator. Generally, though there are exceptions, the will must be in writing and must conform to the laws of the testator’s state and nation. Usually, but not necessarily, it is written by a lawyer and witnessed by a notary.


The testamentary will is the cornerstone of estate planning. If you live in the United States and die without a will – intestate – the state where you live will make one for you. Such readymade wills do not always work out well. My father did not have a will. When he died abruptly of a heart attack, we found the deed to the house he and my mother bought when they were childless newlyweds only had his name on it. Under Kentucky’s laws of intestate succession at the time, my mother found she inherited only one-third of the house she had lived in most of her adult life. Because my father had left no will saying he wanted her to have the house, the law gave my sister and me two-thirds of it. Our mother owned the other third, but only for her life. Obviously this seriously limited what she was legally able to do with her home. My sister and I agreed to let her continue to live there as if the house were her own. Taxes, repairs and other concerns of ownership were bridges we crossed as we got to them.


In addition to a testamentary will, you may need a living

WHAT IS A WILL AND WHY SHOULD YOU HAVE ONE?

will to say whether you want life-prolonging procedures such as artificially provided food and hydration if a circumstance develops where you cannot speak for yourself. You may need advance health-care directives for physical or mental health, naming people to make health-care decisions for you if you are unable to. In some cases, you may want to have a lawyer prepare a power of attorney so your wishes can be carried out in numerous end-of-life situations.


Besides assuring your possessions go to the people to whom you wish to give them, a will may also save family fights. What if my mother had decided to take my sister and me to court in an effort to keep her home? What if my sister and I had not agreed on what to do? What if our father had died when we were still little children, unable to act for ourselves? Think of the time and money wasted in having some court appoint guardians to act for two little kids who suddenly owned part of a house. Wouldn’t it have been easier for everyone if our father had written a simple will giving the house to his widow?


Lawyers suggest you review your will and other estate plans every two or three years. If the people you name in your will die before you do, your provisions may

MARTHA EVANS SPARKS

Martha Evans Sparks is a Staff Writer for Living Well 60+ Magazine

more articles by martha evans sparks