Bridge of Life Planning (Part 3) – A Few Things to Discuss with Your Financial Advisor

How to pay for the care you want

When meeting with a Financial Advisor or Elder Law Attorney, it’s important to know what to ask. When attempting to implement your preferences that you crafted when doing your Bridge of Life Plan, this is especially true. The Financial part is the part of this plan that is most often overlooked. You can do a come up with the perfect design of your preferences. However, if you don’t have the money to pay for them when the need occurs, then what you want may not happen.

I fully realize that most people do not have a Financial Advisor. Therefore, most people don’t have the opportunity to meet to properly arrange their finances to pay for their future care. If you fall in this category, stay tuned. In our next blog article, we will discuss how to prepare for your future care by accessing community resources and any government benefits that may be available.

However, in this article, we will discuss a few things to review with your Financial Advisor for those who may have brokerage accounts.

Let’s Review Bridge of Life

For those of you who missed the first 2 articles in this series, Bridge of LIfe Planning Part 1 and Part 2, this is a continuation of a big topic (hence, a 5 part series). At least the concept is simple! BOL Planning is all about getting your life planned so if and when something bad happens (like Alzheimer’s or stroke) before you die, you have things planned out where your life will continue to flow as smoothly as possible. It’s amazing at how much better things go when you plan.

One key is to this type of planning is to do it early – well in advance of your incapacity. If you are noticing that you are starting to have some health challenges or memory issues, now is the time to act. If you are one of the Adult Kids who is serving as a Family Caregiver for a declining parent, especially early in the process (which we refer to as Journey Stop #1), please encourage your parents to take action quickly.

Capacity is a slippery slope. When you lose capacity, it is much harder for your kids to act on your behalf unless they are listed as one of the owners of your account (which is fraught with risks) or unless you have a very good financial power of attorney in place. Even then, the decisions that they would make are their decisions, not your decisions. To make sure the plan is what you want, be proactive and set the meeting with your advisors yourself.

Whether you are the Aging Senior or you are one of the adult kids, when you meet with the Financial Advisor, here are 5 things to ask:

Five Things to Ask

(when meeting with your Financial Advisor)

The following questions are important whether you are the Aging Senior or you are one of the adult kids. When you meet with the Financial Advisor, here are 5 things to ask:

  1. It sounds obvious, but make sure you understand how things are structured now. I have met with many people over the years who “always thought” things were structured a certain way. However, times change and understandings can in fact be wrong. Many people find out too late that, in fact, things were structured differently than they believed.
  2. See if there is a way to streamline your assets. Your money should be easily accessible to one or more of your kids or your chosen agent. Not “just anybody” can access your money, even if it is used for your benefit (if needed) in the future. If you are at Journey Stop #1, you must act quickly to ensure that this happens as you wish.
  3. Have you started to incur additional expense due to increased cost of care? Ask your Financial Advisor whether your assets could be restructured to safely generate additional income. The added income can be used to help pay for your increased cost of care.
  4. Talk to your Financial Advisor about your Preferences (See Bridge of Life Planning – Part 1), and go over the expected future cost. Together, come up with a plan to help you pay for your projected future care needs without breaking the bank.
  5. Make sure your Financial Advisor and your Elder Law Attorney are on the same (planning) page. Your plan will be much better if these two professionals work together while planning, as opposed to fighting each other.

Before You Plan, Know what You Want

For those who have been reading our blog posts in this series, you know that it is critical to do the Preferences part first. You need to know what you want and don’t want, as well as what it will cost. Otherwise, it will be difficult for your Financial Advisor to help you craft a plan to meet your goals. In other words, he or she needs to know what your target financial goal is. Otherwise, they don’t know where to target your financial plan.

If you are reading this and you are an Aging Senior, please take the initiative to schedule a Portfolio Review meeting with your Financial Advisor and your Elder Law Attorney. After all, it is your hard earned money! You have every right to use it however you please, and leave it to whoever you please at your death.

Another important tip is to take some other trusted person with you to the meeting. When you schedule the meetings with these professionals, you may want to take one of your adult kids (or other trusted friend) with you – 4 ears are better than 2!

Next time, we will discuss ways to protect assets in the event you become incapacitated and qualify for government benefits sooner rather than later. Stay tuned…

*Earlier we mentioned planning at Journey Stop #1. This is explained in our Journey Stop download series. if you have not done so already, download your free Journey Stop #1 Checklist by clicking here.

Best wishes as you work to put together your Bridge of Life Plan. For more step-by-step assistance, visit our paid membership site at www.caregiversupportacademy.com