The second pillar to Bridge of Life Planning is Financial Planning. This pillar is often overlooked. You have probably worked very hard your entire life to accumulate what you’ve got. You may have made many shrewd business and financial decisions over the years, but now it’s time for a review.
Here Are A Few Items To Consider
Ensure Properly Aligned Assets
Get help from your adviser determining whether your investments are aligned with your life goals at this stage of your life. For example, if you are retired, you may not want to take the same risks that you took in your earlier days.
Consider Updating The Structure Of Your Financial Planning
Often your financial plan can be re-structured so as to provide income to help pay for a Professional Caregiver or an Assisted Living Facility. Many times just a few extra dollars per month may help ensure your desired quality of life.
Ask These Questions During A Financial Planning Meeting With Your Adviser
Determine whether your assets can be used by the person(s) you designate. Can these named individuals use your resources for your benefit? If you should become suddenly incapacitated, who has access to your money? Anyone? Are you sure? If so, have expectations been explained? Have your care wishes been discussed? Did you explain how you would like your assets to be used for your benefit? Have you allowed access to all your accounts?
Review Accounts That Are Very Restrictive During Your Financial Planning
Often these accounts are set up where only you can make decisions or move money from the account. If you are the only owner of the account and you become suddenly incapacitated, then anyone else (even your spouse or kids) may have problems when they need to withdraw money. It doesn’t matter the reason – even if one of the kids wants to withdraw money from your account to pay for your medical expenses, they may not be able to do so. If they are not listed as an authorized signer on the account OR if you don’t have a properly prepared Power of Attorney, then it may require a Guardianship Order (which is an Order of the Court) to access the money.
Review Accounts With Penalties For Early Withdrawal Or Substantial Taxes
IRA accounts are an example where money that has to be withdrawn in a large lump sum may be highly taxed and penalized. If large sums of money are needed quickly, do you have a plan? We have seen many families forced into a huge tax or penalty “hit” by life events. They had to withdraw money swiftly to use for their Loved One’s benefit. Some pre-planning may have served to minimize the severity of this tax or fee.
The Financial Planning of the Bridge of Life Plan is a very important, but often overlooked area. It’s very beneficial for your Financial Adviser and Elder Law Attorney to work together. They can craft a Plan to take potential future care giving needs into account.
Stay tuned until next time for more keys to your Bridge of Life Financial Plan.