None of us can predict the future, which is why we should prepare for the unexpected. When it comes to aging, human nature seems to dictate that we don't necessarily like planning. It is preferable to go along with the status quo and hope that nothing bad will happen. Why not wait until something happens and then make a decision? Because good, well thought-out decisions aren't usually made during times of stress. It is amazing what can come up when there is a fall or other medical crisis. What are mom's medications? Does she have advance directives? What is her insurance? Who are her medical providers? Who has been paying bills? Any long-term estate and retirement planning should include advance directives and health care and financial powers of attorney.
Health care and finances are delicate subjects because privacy is important to everyone. As a family member ages, these issues can get complicated. No one wants to admit that they can't handle their own finances or health care. Here are some tips on how to approach the conversation.
It is essential to get as much health care information as possible. Organize this information in a notebook, on your phone or online. That way you can refer to it as needed and make changes or additions along the way. Without a legal health care power of attorney, you will not be able to access your family member's health care providers. In some states, a health care power of attorney only requires everyone's signatures. Here's what to include in your health care file:
If your family member becomes incapacitated or otherwise unable to manage their finances, you need to be able to step in. Or, you may discover that your loved one is the victim of financial exploitation. Although most financial exploitation occurs at the hands of a family member, financial scams are rampant. It is estimated that financial exploitation accounts for a loss of between $3 billion and $37 billion a year. Without some legal authority, it won't be possible to intervene. Here is our advice on how to manage your family member's finances before a problem arises.
End-of-life planning should be done regardless of age. After all, none of us know when we or how we will die or become disabled. Circumstances change, and end-of-life directives can change. For an aging family member who may have medical problems, it is very important to know what that person wants – and does not want. It is not unusual for a family to be in the stressful situation of having to make these decisions on behalf of someone. This happens when the person becomes incapacitated or unable to express their wishes. All end-of-life directives need to be written down and distributed to all family members and health care providers. Issues for discussion:
These are tough questions and discussions to have. Having open, thoughtful and respectful conversations will help now, and in the future. Start as early as possible, but recognize that it is never too late to begin this process.
Alliance America is an insurance and financial services company. Our financial professionals can assist you in maximizing your retirement resources and achieving your future goals. We have access to an array of products and services, all focused on helping you enjoy the retirement lifestyle you want and deserve. You can request a no-cost, no-obligation consultation by calling (833) 219-6884 today.