There comes a time in everyone’s life that they are slowing down in one way or another. Even the baby boomers are starting to face this. You may be working less — driving less — going out at night less often due to visual problems — avoiding large stores and shopping malls and shifting to smaller venues that are easier to navigate — and reducing the amount of high-energy recreation. It may be taking you longer to get through your monthly bills, balance your checkbook, and wade through your insurance statements. This is the time to be thinking about putting together your post-retirement lifestyle plan so that you have a blueprint for dealing with issues such as your place of residence, your healthcare, and the handling of your finances. The goal is to have an arrangement which you can trust and that will keep you secure.
Here are some practical tips for this planning project.
1. With the help and advice of someone who knows you very well who can be candid, start identifying the real areas of need or deficit. Are you developing physical limitations that affect your ability to continue living the same way you have been? Are you developing memory impairment or a low threshold for becoming confused or overwhelmed?
2. If you live alone, is it time to downsize or to share a residence? Will that be with a child, grandchild, long-time friend, or a general retirement community with supports?
3. Who should make your health care decisions if you become incompetent or incapacitated?
4. Who should oversee the management of your assets, income, insurance, taxes, and property? Who should take over those fiscal responsibilities if you become incompetent or incapacitated?
5. Build in checks and balances. It may not be a good idea to give all of the legal authority over your affairs to one person. It may be advisable to divide up the responsibilities for fiscal decisions, medical decisions, and day to day caregiving among several people who actually can talk to each other. You may want to mandate certain reporting requirements. A Power of Attorney should be custom-designed for you.
6. Understand the limited role of government programs such as Medicaid. It may be very useful for certain settings – such as if you must move to a nursing home — but less useful if you want to remain in your home. Think about whether you want to include Medicaid eligibility in your long-range plans.
Here are a few interesting items on these subjects: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/15/your-money/the-childless-plan-for-their-fading-days.html?type=quicklink&_r=0
As you work on these issues, keep in mind that “handshake agreements” and mere spoken promises can be more easily breached and ignored than written contracts and agreements. The planning should be all about you. As your elder law attorney we can prepare all of the documentation that would be important to protect your interests.
Call us for legal advice on post-retirement planning for a good old age … 732-382-6070