Doing Nothing is a Risk
We are all getting older. Some of us will have memory and cognitive decline earlier than others. We all need to plan for it….be prepared for it. I think everyone in their 50’s and beyond should have a Power of Attorney assigned to someone they trust, in case they need it. Once the person dies the P.O.A. is null and void. It is only good while the person is alive. If you have parents that do not have a P.O.A. assigned please have this important discussion with them.
You may have very difficult parents. My father definitely fell into this category. I had a discussion with him in his early 70’s about P.O.A.’s and his Will and his end-of-life wishes. He refused to do a P.O.A. and a Will. His decision to do nothing cost his children about $80,000 in probate fees to the state of Louisiana. I know my dad would have preferred that his children get his money, not the Government but he was extremely stubborn and made a costly mistake. I will not repeat the same mistake. My husband and I have had Will’s since we were in our 30’s and we both have P.O.A.’s and Advance Directive’s set up.
However, I am still very grateful that I had this conversation with him because he told me he wanted to be cremated. He also told me about his insurance policies and where the policies were located in his office. The conversation may be difficult to initiate and awkward to have but it is necessary. Prepare for this conversation ahead of time with written notes and questions.
One of the services I offer is an Emergency Planning worksheet. This was developed to help people know what they have and where to find it. This digital worksheet helps couples, families and loved ones plan ahead for an emergency. It includes important contacts, Insurance policies and account numbers, bills, Investment accounts, and other important information – all in one place. Once it is finished we send copes to the clients Executor, Attorney, and Financial Advisor. This document will need to be updated when Insurance Policies or Bank Accounts change. I advise reviewing it annually.
Another vital reason for having a discussion and a plan about finances is the potential for fraud and scams. 22 Senior Scams You Must Know and Avoid This happens far too often and many times it is family members scamming their own family. It makes me sick. I just heard on NPR about the potential for a scammer to get someone’s entire 401 K. When people retire they can take their retirement in a lump sum so it would be possible for someone to steal your entire retirement program. Wow!!! I’m not trying to scare anyone but we all need a reality check sometimes from the proverbial phrase: this will never happen to me or my family because it could.
Not everyone is going to need assistance with paying bills and managing their financial lives but many older adults will. I offer Financial Organizing as one of my services. There is no harm in planning ahead and preparing for the worst but there is a lot of harm when you to choose to do nothing.
Simple Solution Organizing LLC
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