By Mary Grace Musuneggi
Should I? Could I? What happens if I didn’t plan? What doesn’t happen if I did? Where do I begin? When should I start?
These questions abound as our clients move into pre-retirement…the senior years. And whether or not they take the time to get the answers, it doesn’t mean that the questions will disappear. If you don’t get the answers, someone else certainly will have to deal with the questions someday: Your spouse. Your children. Your caretaker.
Or the default option will be to let the government handle it all for you, as they take your assets as payment for doing the work that you should have done.
Over the last year we have begun a program we call The Family Legacy Initiative, encouraging our clients to address the issues of aging as well as “Having the Talk” with family members who will at some point need to be part of the process. Estate Planning, Final Expense/Pre-planning, Long Term Care planning, Medicare Planning, Gifting and Asset Protection are just a few of the concerns that should be addressed.
None of this is the “fun” stuff. But once the questions are answered then the fun stuff of enjoying the senior years can begin. The planning will be done. The questions will be answered. The kids will know what to do and they will be on board. The kids will know what you expect of them and what the costs will be. The financial worries will be addressed. The plans will be made the way you want them to be. The questions won’t remain to haunt you and your family day after day. The unanswered questions will not pop up every time there is an illness or a family dilemma.
Sometimes we hear people say that their answer to all the questions is that they simply will rely on their spouse to care for them, or more often, that they will rely on their children. But some studies show that if you are currently over age 65, you have almost a 70% chance of requiring long term care services and financial and medical support.* And although most children are glad to help when they can, many of them are not prepared to financially, physically, or emotionally to take on the responsibility of aging parents.
So how to begin? Because there is so much mis-information about issues of aging, and because even the government changes the rules for seniors and for estate planning periodically, the first thing to do is educate yourself about the basics.
Join us at our upcoming workshops:
Tuesday, August 26 –The Cost of Aging
Michael Baker – Target Insurance Services of PA
Thursday, September 25 –The Greatest Gift – Pre-Planning Your Final Arrangements
Patrick McGowan, Conroy Funeral Home
Tuesday, October 14 – What is Estate Planning And Why Should You Do It?
Tracy Zihmer, Feldstein, Grinberg, Lang & McKee
These can be a good start to having the Family Talk. So parents, bring your adult children; adult children bring your parents.
Attendees will receive a complimentary Long Term Care Analysis and an Estate Planning Review.
*The US Department of Health & Human Services (2013)