Financial Topics

"We are assuming that our parents have put things in place for their future.

 

Don't make the wrong assumption." 

We naturally assume that everyone has gone through the process of long-term care planning.   Do not make this assumption.  One of our goals is to encourage becoming better prepared and aware of the future care needs of an aging loved one.   Its not something that happens organically and without any effort.   

One of the major areas of responsibilities a Caregiver will undertake is becoming involved in their loved one's finances.  Addressing financial concerns has many layers:   from funding the care, being granted access, managing and controlling expenses to evaluating the affects of this role on the Caregiver's financial stability.     The other areas of concern that fall under this topic include:  protecting your loved one from identity theft, exploring possible options to help fund their care, and understanding the importance of making practical decisions.   This topic also touches on some legal issues as well which is why we encourage working with an Estate Planning attorney.  

 

Many people think that Estate Planning is only for the wealthy.   We did, too.   But this is not true!    It is for everyone who wants to be prepared for their later stages in life.   Wikipedia defines Estate Planning as:   "the process of anticipating and arranging, during a person's life, for the management and disposal of that person's estate during the person's life and at and after death......"    An Estate Planning attorney will help you with all of this, in addition to acting as a mediator.   

How to pay for stuff?

The number one Caregiver concern is how does my loved one pay for their care and where do I find the money to pay for the stuff they need.     Working with financial planner and/or estate planner is vital.  They will help uncover and provide information about the many possible ways available to cover the costs of care; ie. Long Term Care Insurance Policies, investments, trusts and any future or current benefits to which they may be entitled.  Take advantage of Free Consultations and Workshops to become better informed. 

Professionals will be able to help with the "big picture", however, there are other solutions available, such as the ones listed here that may be worth exploring.  

  • Make practical decisions - Sometimes rushing through the decision making process yields poor investments.     Don't be hasty- be practical.    Is a home renovation the best way of spending their money?   Today, there are so many solutions geared towards Aging In Place.   Such as the Portable Shower Bay Unit.  For example, we thought spending $25K to remodel my sister's home to install a first floor shower was the best decision for when Dad could no longer go upstairs to shower.    Luckily we found the Shower Bay Unit just in time.   It was $3500 and it turned about to be a great temporary solution when Dad passed away nine months after we bought it.   Make practical use use of funds to create a safe, livable environment for them using products specifically designed for today's Aging In Place; like the items on The Marketplace.  

  • Reverse Mortgages - A reverse mortgage may be a good funding options especially if your loved one has made it clear that they want to remain in their home.     Then use the funds wisely to create a safe living environment for them.    Work with a local financial institution or an estate planning attorney.    

  • Long-Term Care Insurance - Long Term Care Insurance helps pay for the costs related to care.   Most commonly, it helps to pay for Home Care Services.    If your loved one of these already, familiarize yourself with it.   Every policy is different.    Not every agency is willing to work with Long Term Care Insurance companies.    They may do the work but will be expected to be paid immediately, then you will be responsible for submitting for reimbursement from the insurance company.    Point being, know if your loved one has a LTC Insurance policy in place, know where to find a copy of it and most importantly understand how to activate it. 

  • Transportation Discounts - In Pennsylvania, Seniors may ride public transportation for FREE.   Annually Septa offers senior passes.    Your State Representative will have information about this.   In Central Bucks County of Pennsylvania, the town of Doylestown offers FREE bus transportation in and around a 20 miles radius taking riders to various places such shopping centers and the  Doylestown Hospital Health Pavilion.

  • Area on Aging - this organization is extremely helpful.    Your loved one may qualify for financial benefits to receive discounted rates on:  Daily Home Meal delivery, door-to-door transportation services, care aides and other support services.    To Learn More Check out ElderCare Locator.

  • Low interest loans - Making purchases on a fixed income is hard, however, the purchase may be necessary.    Some purchases may provide for an opportunity for a low interest loan.    Qualification requirements may apply on these types of loans.  

  • Becoming better educated about medicaid - For example, when there is the need for a big ticket item, such as: a stair climber, wheel chairs, power chairs, bedding use medicaid benefits.   Here is a little unknown secret about medicaid.    This is a benefit that renews every five years, so if you use this benefit towards a cane when your loved one is discharged from Rehab, you'll have to pay out of pocket for any other devices such as a wheel chair.     Work with your loved ones primary health care provider to obtain a script for these devices and then contact Medicaid regarding eligibility.  

  • Document your expenses - If you are going to pay for care expenses from your own pocket, do it right.  Have an attorney create an agreement which allows you to document your expenses and then become reimbursed from your loved ones's estate when they pass away.     When the decision has already been made that you will be your loved ones Caregiver, discuss your concerns with your loved one and as a family.    Its not a good plan to take matters into your own hands with your loved one by maneuvering their assets on the down-low.      

We encountered this article with some helpful tips in it about How to Death Clean Your Finances.    These are recommendations for your loved one to consider as part of their planning process.    They may also act as helpful talking points about your loved ones future financial situation.    

  1. Consolidate financial accounts - Fewer accounts are easier to monitor for suspicious transactions and overlapping investments, plus you may save money on account fees. 

  2. Automate payments - Memory lapses can lead to missed payments, late fees and credit score damage. Set up regular recurring payments in your bank’s bill payment system or charged to a credit card.   Set up overdraft protection to cover any overdraft transactions.  

  3. Prune credit cards - Certified financial planner Carolyn McClanahan in Jacksonville, Florida, recommends her older clients keep just two credit cards: one for everyday purchases and another for automatic bill payments. There are some negatives to closing accounts and impacts to credit scores.  If there are no needs for any loans in the future, you may want to close them gradually over several months or even years to minimize the credit score impact.   
  4. Set up a watchdog - Identify whom you want making decisions for you if you’re incapacitated. Use a legal professional to create durable powers of attorney.   Also create “in case of emergency” files that your trusted person or heirs will need. These might include:
    • Your will or living trust​
    • Medical directives, powers of attorney, living wills
    • Birth, death and marriage certificates
    • Military records
    • Social Security Cards
    • Car Titles, property deeds and other ownership documents
    • Insurance policies
    • A list of your financial accounts
    • Contact information for your attorney, tax pro, financial adviser and insurance agent
    • Photocopies of passports, driver’s licenses and credit cards
  5. Storing information - A safe deposit box are an option but may be troublesome if your trusted person needs access outside bank hours.  Another option is a  fireproof safe or at minimum a locked file cabinet in your home.   Scanning paperwork and keeping an encrypted copy in the cloud could help you or someone else recreate your financial life if the originals are lost or destroyed.

 

Article was from the Associate Press called How to Death Clean Your Finances.  Here is where you can find the article in its entirety.   

 

Checking out!

There are no rules or road maps on what one must do to become financially prepared for their Long Term Care.    However, for you to be able to do anything on behalf of your loved one, you are going to need proper Legal authority.    Make sure your loved one has their key documents in place and you know where to find them when the time comes for you to take any type of financial action.   

 

Everyone knows about planning for retirement but its not the same thing as planning for "Elderhood."     Retirement helps to fund Elderhood.    One of your responsibilities as the Caregiver or Care Manager, will be managing the funds that your loved one has worked so hard to accumulate over time.    Ask yourself as you make decisions about spending their retirement for a large purchases or a home renovation,  "am I making the best and most practical use of this money by doing this."  Remember, your loved one made sacrifices in their past in order to have the money here for them today.

Move past the emotion in the decision making process -"they have the money, I'll just do it or buy it."   If there is time, then take it and do some research before spending $25K for a shower renovation when there may be a more practical solution.      If you need help or support in this process, then get it from our website as a Member, choose one of our Actions Plans or contact the many businesses, professionals and support organizations on The Marketplace.

We know exactly what you are going through.

Make practical decisions.

Not a good plan for you and your loved one to be maneuvering assets on the down-low. 

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Portable Shower Unit

Make practical decisions!

Aging In Place does not always require moving or a home renovation.   Learn More about this solution.

With Long Term Care Insurance, can I hire who I want?   Reality Check here.

Can I get paid to be my parent's  Caregiver?

Learn How!

What are Key Documents?

Learn More Here!

Where can I learn more about "Elderhood Planning? 

Right Here!

How do I have this talk with my Parents? 

Learn Here!

I'm overwhelmed.  Where can I get more help? 

Here!

What about Me?

More here!

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Disclaimer:   The content on this website does not constitute legal advice.   A qualified attorney in your state should be consulted concerning any legal questions, issues or matters that you have.

Aging Parents Management, LLC

Doylestown, Pennsylvania

Tel. 267-343-9660

Email Us

Disclaimer:   The content on this website does not constitute legal advice.   A qualified attorney in your state should be consulted concerning any legal questions, issues or matters that you have.

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