I’m privileged to be the invited speaker for Denver City Councilwoman Kendra Black’s “Senior Series” program tomorrow morning on the topic “Financial Empowerment: Planning for Longevity.” I hope it will be a lively Q & A session with the participants!
So what is this empowerment anyway? Merriam Webster’s online defines empower as:
transitive verb: (1) to give official authority or legal power to; (2) enable; and (3) to promote the self-actualization or influence of.
Empowerment has at least a couple layers here, but for my purposes in educating and assisting elders who are living longer and in greater number than ever before, the most important aspect is the “give legal power to” in the first definition.
What I’m thinking of are documents like durable powers of attorney – both medical and general (financial) as well as other documents like a living will, a disposition of last remains and other similar documents.
Modern estate planning traverses two different “time zones” if you will – both the longevity scenario which covers the incapacity and disability side of life among the living, particularly for a long life, as well as the other side of life, or what happens after someone passes away. Empowerment can and does often involve both of these time zones, but it is critical that the first time zone be discussed and planned for because the longer we live, the greater our chances of being incapacitated (for short or longer term periods). Empowerment here means a conversation not just about the inevitable (death) but also about what one’s preferences are in the event one cannot speak or communicate on their own. But it also means enlisting support from our loved ones and friends, as well as our community, in the event we need help, support or protection.
That is a big part of what I will be addressing tomorrow. The more we talk about these important matters, the easier the conversation becomes. Some of these topics, like elder abuse and financial exploitation by adult children or caregivers, are still quite difficult to talk about – but they are necessary conversations!
I’ll be sure to share in a later post about what some of the participants concerns were and what we discussed. In the meantime, I hope to see some of you at the Eisenhower Recreation Center (4300 East Dartmouth Ave., Denver) tomorrow at 10 a.m.!
© Barbara E. Cashman 2017 www.DenverElderLaw.org