Life is smooth sailing, until it’s not. Don’t jeopardize your independence and quality of life, or your loved ones’ freedom, by waiting for a crisis to plan your elder care and your estate.
The COVID-19 pandemic showed us the importance of being prepared. Failing to plan for death, taxes, long-term care and disability can create hardship and stress. Medicare only pays for a limited amount of long-term care under limited circumstances. Private pay long-term care can cost you and your spouse more than $13,000 per month at the private pay rate in New Jersey. At that rate, your life savings can be quickly dissipated without advance planning. Even the cost of part-time paid care at home can add up quickly. For an idea of the costs you may be facing, check out the Genworth long-term care study at https://www.genworth.com/aging-and-you/finances/cost-of-care.html.
Here are some tips that can help you remain at home as long as possible, avoid an elder care crisis and preserve a legacy for your heirs.
- Your MVP team should include a tax and estates and elder law attorney, an accountant or enrolled agent, and a financial advisor. They can help you define your goals and the right plan to achieve them. They can also vet others to help protect you from elder financial and other forms of abuse.
- Execute a valid Will, a power of attorney and a health care proxy. Work with your attorney to do this.
- Discuss your completed estate plan with your attorney and your accountant or financial planner. Understand how your estate will be funded.
- Work with an elder care attorney to understand your options for long-term care.
- Explain your wishes and preferences with your health care proxy and the person who will serve under your power of attorney.
- Trusts can protect your life savings, a special needs child or grandchild, and can leverage a charitable gift. A trust can protect an inheritance from bankruptcy, divorce, disability, addiction and/or some taxes.
- A revocable trust with a “pour over” will can provide privacy and ease of administration.
- Periodically review your finances. Update your retirement account and insurance beneficiary designations.
- Purchase long-term care insurance if you can qualify medically for a policy. Your financial planner can evaluate your disability, long-term care and life insurance needs. Your elder care attorney can evaluate the policy provisions.
- Periodically review your legal documents. If they are outdated, or misplaced, how can they be useful?
- Don’t add payable on death or transfer on death designations to all your financial accounts without speaking to an attorney.
- Consider a prepaid burial. Your loved ones and your funeral representative will be grateful that you did.
For questions, contact Jane at Archer Brogan – Elder Law Attorney – Trenton – Princeton – Somerville – Brick – Jamesburg.