Those of who know me you know I rarely mince words about life or planning, and this time is no exception as I tackle a tough topic – our deaths.
But let’s look at it from a slightly different angle as we talk about long-term care, nursing home and our surviving loved ones.
According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the average 50-year-old has a better than 53% chance to enter a nursing home during his or her lifetime. Some have short stays and are sent home, while others require long term care as age and possibly the onset of health complications creep in. This can cause not only emotional but severe financial stress for families and in particular surviving spouses. We tend to focus on the financial aspect and the care that is given to our loved one who has been admitted to a nursing home or long-term care facility, and rightly so.
However, what about the spouse who is still at home? What will happen to them and their income as a sick spouse’s nursing home residency causes savings to dwindle over time? What can be done to ease the financial stress for those left behind?
It is probably one of the toughest conversations I have with families; the “what if” discussions. When one spouse enters a long-term care facility or nursing home it can signal that the end is coming. Heck, the end is coming for all of us at some point, right? It could be sudden and unexpected, or it could be a long, drawn out process because of a health diagnosis like Alzheimer’s or dementia. Regardless, we rarely get to choose the path of our final destination. Nevertheless, making sound estate planning decisions now – when you can make those decisions is the best preparation you can do for your family.
Did you know that when the first spouse dies, the surviving spouse loses one of the two incoming Social Security checks when both spouses were receiving Social Security? In fact, the surviving spouse might also lose all or portions of any pensions that provided income to the home. These situations can have a devastating impact on those who remain after one spouse passes. As I said, these can be exceedingly difficult but very necessary conversations at a family dinner table. Families who go through a proper estate planning process, with an experienced professional often ease the financial and emotional stresses that come with these issues.
There is a strong possibility that one spouse, usually the wife, will outlive her husband by seven years or more. After one spouse dies, her lifestyle will change and ultimately her expenses will be reduced. However, a long-term care situation or nursing home residency could very well have drained the family savings leaving the surviving spouse with increased hardship on top of losing a lifetime partner.
Whether you plan on entering a long, drawn out aging process at a facility or nursing home (no one plans for that), or if you just plan on hanging on until the end, it is those you leave behind that need your input now to properly prepare for when you are not here. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to provide for your loved ones by mapping out a thoughtful estate plan.
For more than 20 years, I have helped families and businesses plan for these inevitable transitions by planning to protect the family legacies you worked for your whole life by saving, going without, and planning your business.
Smart estate planning can save your loved one’s unnecessary stress and protect the family legacy you have built.
Isn’t your family and your legacy worth it?
Please note that information contained in this news alert is not and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion nor does this information alert create an attorney-client relationship.