While it may not be the most pleasant conversation you’ll have with your senior loved one, estate planning isn’t something that should be put off. If you’re not sure how to get started, consider the following tips.
Set a Realistic Deadline
Whether it is by the end of the year or before your loved one’s next birthday, having a deadline in mind can help get the ball rolling. A family attorney or a financial planner should be able to offer some insight.
Gather Necessary Information
Create a spreadsheet of all important information that will be needed for the estate planning process to make it easier to keep track of everything. Most New Hampshire home care agencies recommend gathering the following information:
• Title property (cars, boats)
• Real estate holdings (current home and other property)
• Interest-bearing accounts (savings, CDs)
• Investments (stocks, bonds)
• Life insurance policies
• Items of value (antiques, collections, household belongings)
Also consider any outstanding debts that will need to be taken care of after your loved one passes.
Determine the Specifics
Now for the most difficult part of estate planning–determining who gets what and who’s going to be making decisions and taking care of things. You and your senior loved one will need to decide:
• Who gets what (spouse/partner, family members, charities)
• Who will be executor or trustee
• Who will make healthcare decisions
Consider a Living Will
If there comes a time when your senior loved one isn’t able to speak for him or herself, a living will can offer some much-appreciated peace of mind. In some states, a living will can be combined with a power of attorney (usually a medical power of attorney to allow a caregiver in New Hampshire or other designated family member to sign necessary medical forms) into a single document referred to as an advance directive.
It’s best to work with an attorney specializing in estate planning to get everything in order for your senior loved one. If cost is a concern, let them know this up front. Some attorneys are willing to set up convenient payment plans. Remember that adjustments can be made if circumstances change over time.
When estate planning, encourage your senior loved one to consider long-term care as well should a time come when he or she needs additional help and support. If your loved one wishes to age in place, learn more about hourly and live-in home care in New Hampshire from the dedicated staff at Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers are trained, bonded, and insured, every care plan is customized for the client, and we never require long-term contracts. For more information, call (603) 471-3004 and speak with a friendly Care Manager.