The Benefits of Life Estates

Pretty much my entire day was spent making my final preparations for hosting, and then wrapping up the public open house I had over at Prairie Place on 1st this afternoon.  Thank goodness the rain stopped by the time 1:00 pm rolled around, and judging by the number of people in attendance, I’d say there was an exceptionally good turnout once again.

What surprised me the most, were the number of people who were from out of town having stopped by.  Several of them hailed from Minnesota and couldn’t believe how low the prices and monthly association fees were in comparison to where they’re living.  Of course the real struggle with so many of our seniors, are those periods of making their decisions to uproot themselves from their so-called comfort zones.

There are always those few in our elder-world who enjoy moving from home to home and city to city, but for the most part, the bulk of them consider making a decision like that to be nothing less than gut-wrenching.  I personally know people who’re in the midst of life-transitions who know they’re going to have to make a change, but have only the strength to deal with the preparations for the sale of their homes along with the daily upkeep which then creates a stop-gate for future places of residence.

It’s no wonder why there’s oft times that one or two year window of time from the death of a spouse where there are more meta-physical problems to be dealt with by a surviving spouse.  If I’m not mistaken, the statistics have shown that there’s a higher likelihood of the surviving spouse to also die in that 1 – 2 year window of time.  I’m of the belief that it’s the added stress of loss along with the extra responsibilities that bring on life-threatening physical problems.

I think there’s also an added problem caused by overly-controlling children who “think” they’re doing what’s best for their remaining parents, but in fact, they’re adding to their levels of stress which in turn is affecting their health.  The bulk of our elderly insist on stability, regimentation, and as little drama in their lives as possible.  I can think of one or two elderly people who enjoy stirring the pot, but for the most part, all the others want nothing more than quiet enjoyment during their remaining years of life on this earth.

There was one particular elderly lady whom I’d known for some years who I’m convinced died before her time simply because her children wouldn’t stop fussing over her to where I think one day she made the mental decision that it was time to check out early.  Did she commit suicide?  No, but I think she just resigned herself to death, and death did come. It made me sad because I knew for a fact that her blood-related fore-fathers and mothers had a history of very long lives.  If I’m not mistaken, she once told me her great-grandfather and mother both lived past 100 years.

Some months ago I spoke about how I believe the very young and very old appear to be psychic of sorts.  Have you ever been around babies and noticed how they look at you?  Their piercing eye contacts are very similar to what you find with many of our elderly, and for me, it’s almost as though they’re reading my mind.

Some years ago, when being more involved with an elderly person approaching 100, I would stand back and watch how comfortable he was with say one person, and exceptionally nervous when another was in the room.  And to think those people coming and going from his room were all his own children!  After seeing that happening first-hand, I became all the more convinced that he could “sense” the good and bad in each one of them and no longer had the will or power to make change.

After my open house finished, I made time to stop and visit with one of the residents who I just today discovered he to be in possession of a beautiful voice.  I teased him a bit when saying, “Why didn’t you or your wife tell me that you have an exceptionally beautiful voice?”   He smiled and dismissed it as being something not that important during the time they were purchasing their condo.  When leaving their unit, I promised to make time to listen to him whenever he’s singing publicly.

I spoke with Bert Vigen who is the CEO of Good Shepherd later today about giving a short presentation on the benefits of life estates and following it up by a question and answer session.  I’ve discovered there are far too many elderly people in North Iowa who have little or no understanding regarding them.

Yes, there are pitfalls with them, but those are far out-weighed by the positives.  One of the big negatives is when a parent or parents place a property or properties they own in a life estate for say one of their children who is married.  If that child stays married, all is well and good, but if there’s a divorce, that’s when the potential problems start.  Can you imagine how difficult it would be to get a divorcing spouse to sign off on a life estate when most likely there’s already a big financial battle taking place between child and in-law?  This is why there should always be good planning and great care taken when establishing life estates, and most certainly having an attorney hired who is completely familiar with their ins and outs.

Tonight’s one-liner is:  People need hard times and oppression to develop psychic muscles.

Joe Chodur

About the Author | Joe Chodur

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