How will you handle a curve ball?
Published in All About Seniors of the Upstate Winter/Spring 2021 Edition
By LeAnne Carswell, EXPERT Real Estate Team
After 25 years selling real estate, I have helped buyers and sellers of all kinds. The first-time buyer, the move-up buyer, investors, owners down-sizing, owners up-sizing and families selling a loved one’s home. The stories of families selling a home for a loved one are the ones I remember most vividly.
There are some families where the loved one has everything well planned. Health care decisions have been made, living arrangements have been chosen, trusts have been set up or wills have been written. Those are the times when the family can focus on spending time with their loved one and reminiscing about the past and making new memories. There is very little stress for the loved one or the family in these situations.
Then there are others where nothing has been discussed between the family members. When an illness strikes or an accident happens, no one knows the wishes of the loved one. Those families are thrust into the unknown world of the family member’s life. They may have to make life or death decisions quickly. At times they will have to scour the loved one’s home to find important documents needed for hospitals, utility company information, banking and investment records…all of which need some formal document to discuss on the loved one’s behalf. Obviously, these are stories where everyone is stressed out. They are having to deal with their own life and at the same time carve out time to manage another’s challenges.
My own personal story began with my mother when she started to forget things. She had handled everything for herself and my Dad. It has now rapidly evolved into my taking over and learning what investments my parents made, where all their money and investments live and taking over all the banking and bill payments. Fortunately, my sister and I had time to work with an attorney to arrange for the creation of a Trust. We know our parents’ wishes, where the important documents live, and what is important to our parents’ long term. We were even able to take advantage of a little-known program the VA offers to veterans.
Then I hear the sad story of a 40-year-old colleague, who drops dead from an undiagnosed heart issue, leaving his wife and 2 children to deal with his death. You never know when you are going to get sick, be in an accident or pass away. It does not matter your age, there will come a time when someone will have to deal with life support dilemmas, putting you in an extended care facility, or deciding whether to bury or cremate you. You can choose to make it easy for them and do it on your terms or make it difficult for them and you get what you get.
I know this whole article seems odd coming from a Real Estate Agent. However, my personal situation along with my professional experience has given me a unique perspective which I feel can be helpful to anyone faced with these challenges. Even if you aren’t a planner, I am writing this story to encourage you to plan for life’s curve balls. Like you, I love my family and I want to have as much as I can pre-planned for them.
Do you have a system in place where your personal information can be easily accessed by someone you trust? How do you manage the storage of your passwords and other important identification? Have you discussed who makes decisions for you if you are suddenly unable to do so? If you are interested in learning little steps you can take to plan for a curve ball, reach out to me at 864-380-5590. I welcome your call and the opportunity to share with you what I have learned.
LeAnne Carswell is the owner and Broker in Charge of the Expert Real Estate Team in Greer, SC. She has been a Realtor for 25 years, manages a staff of 5 and has 12 agents on her team. The team sells over 225 homes a year. LeAnne has obtained the Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) certification from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). She can be reached at 864-380-5590 or firstname.lastname@example.org