What Every Caregiver Must Know in These Uncertain Financial Times

What Every Caregiver Must Know in These Uncertain Financial Times

Caregiving for someone with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia is one of the most difficult jobs in the world. In addition to making sure that your loved one is safe and their daily needs are met, you are also faced with the fact that there are many financial and legal issues that must be addressed. As if that was not enough, you also are trying to provide the best quality of care at the least cost to the family. Caregiving is expensive and stressful, especially in these uncertain financial times. Hopefully, this article can provide you the financial and legal answers you need to do a better job.

Elder law is not just for senior citizens who are no longer independent or who are about to enter a nursing home. Elder law is for anyone who is middle aged and beyond – and sometimes even younger. There are now more than 5 million people in the United States living with Alzheimer’s. This is a 10% increase from 5 years ago, and clearly supports the long forecasted dementia epidemic. One in eight persons age 65 and over have Alzheimer’s disease and nearly half of all persons over the age of 85 have Alzheimer’s. Every 72 seconds someone develops Alzheimer’s disease; by mid-century someone will develop Alzheimer’s every 33 seconds.

You are not alone. There are over 50 million caregivers in this county. Studies show that 12 million people in this country need long term care. Twenty-one percent of American adults provide free caregiving for loved ones. Fifty-nine percent of these caregivers either work outside the home, or have worked outside the home, while providing care. It has been estimated that the value of free services given by caregivers is in excess of $310 billion a year. Additionally, as a result of caregivers, businesses are also effected by the caregiving epidemic. Specifically, over 60% of caregivers work and dedicate on average 18 hours per week to provide care. Family caregivers account for 73% of early departures and late arrivals in the workplace. Caregiving by an employee costs the average employer $2,100 per employee or for all employers as much as $33 billion annually. These services are provided by family members without regard to cost because of the love and respect they have for their loved ones.

These statistics only represent the economic cost of caregiving. It does not even address the emotional and physical toll on caregivers. The fact is that 70% of all caregivers over the age of 70 die first. People generally do not think about the health of the caregiver or plan for the unthinkable — the caregiver having health problems or passing away before their loved one with dementia. It is for this reason that we approach each situation from the worst case scenario. We plan for the worst and hope for the best, that way our clients are always protected.

We know that age is the biggest risk factor for Alzheimer’s and dementia related diseases, however, these diseases do not discriminate. We have helped clients who have loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia related diseases, some as young as their late 30’s. The time to look down the road and make major decisions regarding your health, well-being and finances is now.

It is important to understand the difference between an elder law attorney and an estate planning attorney. While estate planning attorneys are concerned with what happens to your estate upon your death, elder law attorneys ensure that your affairs can be managed in the event of your disability as well as once you pass away. Specifically, an experienced elder law attorney addresses the following tough questions like:

  • Who will make my medical decisions when I am no longer able to make them?
  • If I am unable to care for myself, how can I achieve the greatest quality of care without bankrupting myself or my family?
  • Who will be able to talk to my doctors and the hospital when I require guidance even though I am able to make my own medical decisions?
  • Who will make my end of life decisions?
  • What happens if I get sick and cannot stay in my home anymore?
  • How am I going to pay for it?

For caregivers of loved ones with Alzheimer’s and related dementia, information regarding Medicaid and estate planning is a necessity. In these uncertain financial times, the proper long term care planning is more important than ever. Families who seek the proper professional advice will be able to protect significant portions of their assets, possibly all of their assets, in spite of these rocky financial times. However, families who fail to do the proper planning, will rapidly deplete their assets with the rising nursing home costs.

This article was written by Danielle Mayoras and Don Rosenberg and previously published at www.brmmlaw.com

Danielle Mayoras is an estate, elder law and special needs attorney who is passionate about helping people plan for future generations. She applies her knowledge and experience to help clients across the country and is a trusted advisor to celebrity and high-profile heirs.

Danielle is an author of best-selling book, Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights! and host of the TV show Fortune Fights.  She is also a dynamic keynote speaker who delights audiences across the country.

Danielle lends her expertise and analysis to hundreds of media sources, including ABC News, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post, among many others. She has appeared on the Rachael Ray Show, CNN, NBC Nightly News, and FOX and NBC affiliates.

 

 

A Caregiver’s Manual To Be Prepared For That Call In The Night

A Caregiver’s Manual To Be Prepared For That Call In The Night

As women, we are often expected to fill multiple roles: that of a loving mother, career woman, supportive wife or partner, volunteer in the community and, at some point for many, a new role—that of caregiver to our parents or loved ones.

For the last 30 years, I have helped clients plan for their “golden years,” including how they will address the issues of aging and how to remain independent. I have recently experienced this myself; I was the Designated Daughter for my own parents. Because my parents and I had “the important conversations” and did the proper planning, I was prepared when I received that Call in the Night. Part of creating the life of your dreams is making sure you address all the what ifs in your life. Skipping this step can create unpleasant complications that can be avoided. Our parents and loved ones are living longer, and we need to know how this might affect our lives and be prepared with a plan.

Take a look at these statistics:

  • When Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid were designed, life expectancy was 63.
  • Our fastest growing population is age 85 plus and 50% may have some form of Alzheimer’s.
  • By 2030, 70 million people in the US, or 1-in-5 people, will be age 65.
  • Another 1 million people will be 100 years old.
  • The need for healthcare and related services is exploding! Source: Working with Seniors Health, Financial and Social Issues, 2003

According to USA Today:

  • 60% of US caregivers are female
  • 66% are married or living with a partner
  • 45 is the average age of US caregivers
  • 77 is the average age of the care recipient
  • 41% of caregivers have children under the age of 18 at home
  • 52% of caregivers are employed full time

Learn how to be prepared, how to talk to your parents or loved ones, what you and they should do to ensure your lives continue to run smoothly, and how to avoid costly mistakes.

Step One ~ Get Organized!

Gather together the following items: One filing cabinet, complete with hanging file and manila folders; a copy of all important documents; a large three-ring binder with big tab dividers; and a colored marker.

Use the binder to store copies of important documents. Label the document title on the tab divider. This will come in handy should you need to transport documents. Using your marker, write on the back of each document where the original is stored (i.e. Will store in safe deposit box at Chase Bank on 2nd and Main, son John has the key.) Have a section on beneficiaries that lists all documents with appointed beneficiaries. Always keep this section current. Next, organize your file cabinet. If you don’t want to store original documents in your file cabinet, note the original’s location in the appropriate file.

Create the following titles for your hanging files and store items under each category in labeled manila folders:

Important Information

  1. Location of safe deposit box and key
  2. Passwords for debit card, online accounts, computer, and voicemail
  3. Armed forces documents
  4. Birth, death, and marriage certificates
  5. Names and phone numbers of your attorney, CPA, financial planner, broker, and insurance agents
  6. Copy of tax returns and winter/summer tax assessments
  7. Copy of life, health, disability, and long term care insurance policies
  8. Copy of Social Security Estimate Statement
  9. Copy of driver’s license and passport

Legal Planning

  1. Copy of will and trusts
  2. Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) documents
  3. Prepaid funeral and burial arrangements/plan for pet relocation and expenses

Banking/Investments

  1. Copy of each credit card with contact phone number
  2. Divide out by financial institution a copy of bank statements, brokerage accounts, annuities, IRA’s, stock/bond certificates, and dividend reinvestment plans (DRIP)
  3. Copy of retirement plans and investment real estate documents
  4. Copy of “Survivor’s” Pension Benefit (what the surviving spouse receive after the retiree dies)
  5. Current copies of beneficiary designations for all retirement plans, IRA’s, life insurance, and annuities

Medical

  1. Name and phone numbers of physicians, dentist, nurses, etc.
  2. Name of pharmacy and list of prescriptions
  3. Copy of medical insurance card and benefits guidebook
  4. Long term care and disability insurance policies
  5. Patient Advocate Designation document – give primary care physician a copy
  6. Copy of Medicare card, supplemental medical insurance, and account numbers

Household

  1. Copy of home deed, homeowner’s insurance (include umbrella policies)
  2. Copy of mortgage and home equity loan statements
  3. Copy of auto title, loan/lease, and insurance documents
  4. Copy of statements for gas, electric, water, waste management, telephones, etc.
  5. Home maintenance file to include repair receipts, phone number of repairmen, warrantees, and appliance insurance

Step Two ~ Discovery

Your documentation is organized. Breathe a sigh of relief!

Next, you need to have a series of important conversations with your parents or loved ones and other family members. These discussions should include:

  • What are their wishes for long term care?
  • What are their needs as they are aging and who can provide these?
  • How do they want to handle their money and property as their lifestyle changes
  • What kind of legacy do they want to create for themselves?

It may take while to cover all of these topics. Don’t rush and feel as if you have to discuss everything at one time.

You can initiate the conversation by discussing these subjects in general terms because you are doing your own future planning for college savings or retirement. Ask for
their help to assess their situation and welcome their input on solutions.

Role play a bit. Try talking about how they would feel if they had to make these decisions for you instead. Ask what their friends are doing about these types of
issues. Patience is key here! Most importantly, encourage them to really take a look at their values, lifestyle, and spiritual picture as they ultimately have to own the solutions.

Next, you’re ready to select the individuals you want on the caregiving team. Include any that apply: family members, doctors, home care specialist, attorney, certified elder law specialists, insurance agents, brokers, CPA, caregivers, certified financial planner, therapist, etc. Many of these professionals are trained to help families deal with health, financial, and social issues in a holistic way.

Step Three ~ Create a Financial Plan

Sit down with a certified financial planner and develop a financial plan that addresses the following:

Financial Position:

  • Create a cash flow statement which breaks down income and expenses
  • Determine net worth by listing assets and liabilities

Income Taxes:

  • Review tax situation for capital gains/losses with real estate or stocks
  • Discuss IRA planning, and pension /retirement distribution strategies

Investments:

  • Analyze investments for quality, safety, income needs, tax situation, etc.
  • Ensure investments are manageable, properly diversified, are not all over the place

Retirement:

  • Establish the assets necessary to meet your parents’ or loved ones’ lifetime income needs
  • Project retirement income needs in several situations (i.e. home care/assisted living, and utilizing long-term care insurance benefits, if applicable)

Estate:

  • Review documents and analyze current estate plan
  • Verify beneficiaries on life insurance, annuities, retirement plans, & 401K
  • Identify amount needed for financial independence, amount to leave for a family legacy, and how to allocate social legacy regarding gift and tax
  • May want to consult an Elder Law Attorney for estate planning

Protection:

  • Assess cash flow projections and alternate scenarios regarding disability, long- term care, and premature death

Step Four ~ Meet with Your Team and Create a Plan

Now that you have everything in place, sit down with your caregiving team members and develop a plan of action that satisfies your parents’ or loved ones’ goals, values, and objectives. The final product should enable them to maintain their dignity, lifestyle, and assets. In addition, the plan should be clear, concise, easy to manage, and tax-efficient. It should also acknowledge the needs of whoever becomes the main caregiver.

The benefits of early planning are numerous, including:

  • clarifying your parents’ or loved ones’ wishes
  • identifying the best possible resources
  • minimizing confusion and stress during times of crisis
  • increasing overall peace of mind

The end result? Everyone involved is able to sleep at night knowing all concerns have been addressed and that a team and a plan is in place to accommodate all those what ifs.

Katana Abbott, CFP® practitioner, is a Wealth Coach™, host of the Smart Women Talk Radio™, founder of the Smart Women Companies with over 1 million subscribers globally, inspirational speaker and author of several books. She began her financial planning career in 1987 and became a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner. In 2003, Katana created Smart Women’s Coaching® to offer financial coaching and educational workshops for women in transition who are dealing with caregiving, death of a loved one, divorce, retirement or looking to create or grow a business.  She founded Smart Women’s Empowerment in 2008 to bring free financial empowerment resources and programs to women around the world through her team of Contributing Experts. To learn more about Katana Abbott visit www.katanaabbott.com.

Caregiving Around the Clock

Caregiving Around the Clock

November is National Caregiver month, and we are honoring those around the world who care for aging or disabled loved ones. This could be special needs loved ones, aging loved ones with Dementia and other cognitive diseases, loved ones who simply need help with the daily activities of living that include things like meal preparation, shopping, bathing, doctor visits, help with medications, and managing financial issues.

As Roslyn Carter so eloquently stated: There are only 4 types of people: Those who have been caregivers, those who are caregivers, those who receive care, and those who will be caregivers in the future.

My mission for the last 30 years has been to teach individuals to prepare for becoming a caregiver or care-receiver well in advance of the “triggering event.” The secret to all planning is to start early when options are affordable and plentiful vs. reacting when you have less choices and may end up in court with no idea where important documents are located, being told what you can and can’t do by a judge, and then dealing with stress, family conflicts, and overwhelm.

Although this can be a very difficult topic to approach with loved ones, I suggest following these 5 steps so you can be prepared for the issues related to long term care and aging.  These steps include, but are not limited to:

  1. Having those important conversations with loved ones as soon as possible to ensure everyone is on board with a plan when the triggering event occurs.
  2. Getting organized so important documents and information is readily available in a “grab and go” binder.
  3. Meeting with an attorney who focuses on “eldercare” to create the proper legal documentation and processes to keep you out of court and in control during what can be a very stressful time.
  4. Exploring the new hybrid long-term care policies that can provide a tax-free stream of income to pay for all levels of care.
  5. AND making sure the Caregiver has a self-care plan in place.

It’s so easy to put things off until there’s a reason to act. This is such a difficult topic, but preparing in advance will make the experience so much easier for all.

To help you get started with the process, I am interviewing Elder Law Attorney, Danielle Mayoras, who will share the important legal planning that can be done no matter where you are in the process today.

I’m also interviewing Long Term Care Concierge, Annalee Kruger, who helps families be proactive in developing an Aging Plan and learn how to facilitate family meetings. Annalee is the gal to call if you are currently experiencing caregiver burnout.

Be sure to read my article above, A Caregiver’s Manual to Be Prepared for that Call in the Night. If you want to discuss your situation personally, email me at katana@katanaabbott.com or visit my online calendar and book a call with me at www.talkwithkatana.com.  I’d love to connect!

Katana Abbott, CFP® practitioner, is a Wealth Coach™, host of the Smart Women Talk Radio™, founder of the Smart Women Companies with over 1 million subscribers globally, inspirational speaker and author of several books. She began her financial planning career in 1987 and became a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner. In 2003, Katana created Smart Women’s Coaching® to offer financial coaching and educational workshops for women in transition who are dealing with caregiving, death of a loved one, divorce, retirement or looking to create or grow a business.  She founded Smart Women’s Empowerment in 2008 to bring free financial empowerment resources and programs to women around the world through her team of Contributing Experts. To learn more about Katana Abbott visit www.katanaabbott.com.

How to Be Prepared for that Call in the Night

How to Be Prepared for that Call in the Night

Watching our parents age is not always easy. We all dread the idea of that “call in the night” – the one that means we must step into the Designated Caregiver™ role to manage our parents’ lives and make tough decisions about their care, finances, and welfare.

According to the Society of Certified Senior Advisors:

  • When Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid were designed, life expectancy was 63.
  • Our fastest growing population is age 85 and 50% of this population may have some form of Alzheimer’s.
  • By 2030, 70 million people in the US, or 1-in-5 people, will be age 65.

For the last three decades, I have helped clients create financial plans for their “golden years” and address issues of aging and remaining independent. Learn how to be prepared, how to have this discussion with your parents, what you and they should do to ensure your lives continue to run smoothly, and how to avoid costly mistakes.

My Designated Caregiver™ five-step-process enables you to make smart choices now that can benefit everyone involved in the future.

Step 1 – Get Organized

Before attempting to discuss financial, tax, and estate planning issues with your loved ones, be sure to sit down with a financial advisor and get your own plan in order.

Step 2 – Initiate “The Discovery Conversation” with Your Parents

One way to initiate this conversation is to ask them what they would do if something happened to you.

  • Do they know the names and contact information of your advisors?
  • Are they able to access your medical records, doctors and prescriptions?
  • Do they know where to find documents such as your will, or medical forms?

These questions may help lead the conversation into what your role would be for them – will you be needed as a caregiver, a trustee, or a personal representative? Knowing this information will help you plan your own future. The worse time to start dealing with these issues is after a triggering event when options may be limited, or you may end up in court to ask for permission to make medical, legal, and financial decisions.

Step 3 – Start Planning as Early as Possible

Don’t wait until the triggering event happens. It’s never too early to start planning for the unexpected. Meeting with an attorney, financial planner, and an insurance agent to create the proper planning may be all it takes to make sure your needs and the needs of your loved ones are met. Plan early while you have the most options available – be proactive rather than reactive.

Step 4 – Consider Purchasing Long-Term Care Insurance

Start the conversation about long-term care insurance when your parents or loved ones are young and healthy. In fact, consider purchasing your own policy now while the premiums are affordable!

Long-term care insurance costs have gone up, so explore new innovative long-term care solutions through products like life insurance where there are dual benefits. Also explore homecare-only policies which may be less expensive.

We are living much longer, and the need for healthcare and health-related services is exploding. The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College estimates that 44% of men and 58% of women will specifically need nursing home care at or after age 65. The annual Cost of Care Survey from Genworth puts the median annual costs in the United States for an assisted living facility at $43,200 and $91,250 for a private nursing home room.

Step 5 – Create a Team of Trusted Advisors

This is not the time for-do-it-yourself-planning. Find a key advisor who is an eldercare expert and have them manage the team with you based on your loved ones’ goals, values, and objectives. The final product should enable your loved ones to maintain their dignity, lifestyle, and assets. It should also meet the needs of the caregiver. The result is that everyone involved should be able to sleep better at night knowing that all concerns have been addressed and that a team and a plan are in place to meet the unexpected.

If you are currently a caregiver or better yet, want to learn how to plan for care – either as a care giver or care receiver, and want to talk with me about your situation, then feel free to book a complementary 30 minute discovery session with me at www.talkwithkatana.com

Katana Abbott, CFP® practitioner, is a Wealth Coach™, host of the Smart Women Talk Radio™, founder of the Smart Women Companies with over 1 million subscribers globally, inspirational speaker and author of several books.

She began her financial planning career in 1987 and became a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner. In 2003, Katana created Smart Women’s Coaching® to offer financial coaching and educational workshops for women in transition who are dealing with caregiving, death of a loved one, divorce, retirement or looking to create or grow a business.  She founded Smart Women’s Empowerment in 2008 to bring free financial empowerment resources and programs to women around the world through her team of Contributing Experts. To learn more about Katana Abbott visit www.katanaabbott.com.

The Time to Prepare for Caregiving is Now!

The Time to Prepare for Caregiving is Now!

As Rosalyn Carter eloquently stated:

There are only 4 types of people:
those who have been caregivers, those who are caregivers,
those who receive care, and those who will be caregivers in the future!

 

  • How many children are really prepared for that phone call from one of their parents or loved ones that will turn their lives upside down?
  • If you are the parent, are you prepared and have you talked with your children about your wishes if something should happen to you and you need assistance?

The secret is to be prepared so when a triggering event should happen, you will feel confident making decisions and everyone involved will understand what’s expected.

My goal this month is to inspire you to become prepared for this role in advance so that when a triggering event should happen, you will feel confident in making decisions, and everyone involved will understand what is expected.

This is a difficult topic because we must deal with either our loved one’s disability and mortality or plan how we want our own end of life affairs handled.  But I promise, it doesn’t need to be morbid or difficult.

As a Certified Senior Advisor, I have helped clients for the last 30 years plan for their “golden years,” including how they will address the issues of aging and remaining independent. I also have experienced it personally as the Designated Daughter® with my own parents, my grandmother, my great aunt, and dozens of clients.

One of the biggest issues many face when it comes to long-term care is how to pay for it.  Savings or long-term care insurance are two financial strategies, but for many, they are simply not an option.  With statistics that show 68% of those over 65 will become cognitively impaired or unable to complete at least two “activities of daily living” (including dressing, bathing, or eating) during their lifetime, it’s time to look at other solutions.

This month, I am thrilled to be interviewing two experts who will show you how to access several government benefits that can allow you or loved ones to age in security by tapping the equity of their home or to protect assets for loved ones while accessing government benefits for additional long-term care expenses.

For a private consultation with me on this topic, visit www.talkwithkatana.com.  If I cannot help you myself, I can refer you to the appropriate resources based on your location.

Enjoy this issue of Smart Women, Smart Choices and please invite your friends to join our Smart Women Community at www.JoinSmartWomen.com!

 

Katana Abbott is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and Certified Senior Advisor who began her financial planning career in 1987 with Ameriprise Financial Services.  Because of her personal experiences with financial abuse, death, disability, divorce, and caregiving, she teaches women how to take charge of their finances, create wealth and prepare for expected and unexpected life events. Katana is an inspirational speaker, author and the host of Smart Women Talk Radio with over a million subscribers. She is the founder of the Designated Caregiver® program and the Smart Women Companies.  She has been married to DSO French hornist, Mark Abbott, for over 30 years and they have two daughters.  To learn more and connect with Katana, visit her at www.KatanaAbbott.com

A Caregiver’s Manual for Being Prepared for That Call in the Night

A Caregiver’s Manual for Being Prepared for That Call in the Night

As women, we are often expected to fill multiple roles: that of a loving mother, career woman, supportive wife or partner, volunteer in the community and, at some point for many, a new role—that of caregiver to our parents or loved ones.

For the last 30 years, I have helped clients plan for their “golden years,” including how they will address the issues of aging and how to remain independent. I have recently experienced this myself; I was the Designated Daughter for my own parents. Because my parents and I had “the important conversations” and did the proper planning, I was prepared when I received that Call in the Night. Part of creating the life of your dreams is making sure you address all the what ifs in your life. Skipping this step can create unpleasant complications that can be avoided. Our parents and loved ones are living longer, and we need to know how this might affect our lives and be prepared with a plan. (more…)

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