Justin, while visiting my parents for the holidays, I realized they have aged a lot over the past year. I’m concerned about how they are doing both physically and mentally. What should we be doing right now to make sure we’re ready for the next stage of their lives? – Wayne
Wayne, My advice to you and your parents falls into two separate categories—estate planning and long-term care planning. On the estate planning side, the first thing that is absolutely essential is checking on their power of attorney and healthcare power of attorney documents. Do they have them? Are they up to date? Do they name the right agents and include the right provisions?
The second thing, also essential, is looking into what they’ve done to avoid probate. Many older couples have wills and think they’re in good shape. Wills do not avoid probate. Your parents must take several intentional steps to stay out of probate court, and it may be up to you to help them realize that.
On the long-term care planning side, the first thing you should do is educate yourself on the care options they will have available. Look into how home caregiver agencies might be able to help, research local assisted living facilities, and get information about nursing homes in your area. Talk with your parents about what you learn. The last thing you want to do is face an emergency need for long-term care before you’ve had this conversation.
Just as important as knowing your long-term care options will be exploring how they will pay for those options. Do they have the resources to private pay? Do they have (or can they get) insurance to help cover the costs? Will they be eligible for VA benefits or other government programs designed to help?
To read more, order a copy of You Need A Plan from my website, YourPlanMatters.com. Even better, give us a call to set up a strategy session, and we’ll help give you and your parents the peace of mind you’re looking for.