Preface Our goal is to help adult children, advisors, and other caretakers help older people (like ourselves) deal with many of the worries that deprive us of peace of mind. Legal and financial worries are not the only impedi- ments to peace of mind, but they are certainly some of the big ones. Espe- cially as people grow older, they worry about their health, their children, their friends and relatives, their legacies, and many other things. But our focus is legal and financial worries, and that’s plenty. We primarily aim this book at the adult children of aging parents because, at this stage in life, older people may find it a burden to have to deal with all this detail, and their adult children will usually be ready, willing, and able to shoulder some of that burden. We also aim the book at other advisors and caretakers, so they can see the big picture of legal and financial planning for seniors and the role of psychology in that plan- ning. In addition, we fully anticipate that some seniors will prefer to do this work on their own. Because being helpful requires good communication, right off the bat we talk about the main differences between adult children and their aging parents that can interfere with communication: differences in life history, personality, developmental stage, and so forth. Our message is that, if you’re going to help your parents, you need to understand that the way you see the world is not necessarily the way they do. At the same time, we introduce some of the psychology that adds meaning to almost every aspect of legal and financial planning. Then we divide the things older people worry about into two catego- ries: worries about things they can control and worries about things they can’t. In our experience, many of the things people can control are legal and financial matters, so we present two parallel series of chapters in which we identify the most common legal and financial worries, describe
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