If you are age 65 or older, your odds of falling in the next year are one in four. Since fall injuries can rob you of your mobility, it is essential to avoid them. We know the most common reasons why seniors fall, so we can prevent these events. To reduce the likelihood you will get hurt and end up having to use a walker or wheelchair to get around, you should assemble your team to prevent injuries from falling.
If you’re like many Americans, you’re relying on Social Security to a large degree to cover your expenses once your career ends and that steady paycheck vanishes, says AZ Central in the article “These 3 dangerous Social Security myths could destroy your retirement.” However, that dependence could lead to serious problems, if you don’t know the best way to manage Social Security.
The better educated you are about this government agency and its benefits, the better off you, your spouse and your family will be. Even if you’re a decade or two away from retiring, it’s a good idea to start learning about how it all works.
Here are three myths that land many people in trouble.
As parent’s age, it becomes more important for their children or another trusted adult to start helping them with their finances and their legal documents, especially an estate plan. In “Six tips for managing an elderly parent’s finances,” ABC7 On Your Side presents the important tasks that need to be done.
Healthcare can be one of the biggest expenses in retirement. Fidelity Investments found that a 65-year-old newly retired couple will need $285,000 for medical expenses in retirement. That doesn’t include the annual cost of long-term care. In 2018, that expense ran from $18,720 for adult day care services to $100,375 for a private room in a nursing home, according to Investopedia’s recent article, “How to Plan for Medical Expenses in Retirement.”
Multi-generational living is not exactly new, and as people are living longer, it may start becoming more common. Shared households bring many benefits, including convenience. Why should a nurse daughter travel 20 miles a day to take her mom’s blood pressure, asks The Mercury’s article “Do shared living arrangements make sense?”
If aging in place is your goal, then long-term planning needs to be considered, including how the house will function as you age, accommodations for the people who will care for you and how to pay for care, says the Record Online in the article “Start planning now so you can ‘age in place.’”
Once there has been a diagnosis of dementia, there are a number of issues that families need to address, including legal issues. The best way to approach this task, says being patient in the article “Alzheimer’s and the Law” is to meet with an estate planning attorney who can guide the family in planning for the future, and creating the needed documents.
A person with a disability can only have $4,000 to keep the Medicaid assistance that he or she has. That’s because those receiving Supplemental Security Income, Social Security Disability Income and/or participating in programs like Medicaid or Medicare have limits placed on their assets. If they go over the limits, their benefits will be suspended. In some cases, these limits can be as little as $2,000.
Mississippi Today’s recent article, “New tax-free accounts allow Mississippians with disabilities to save without the risk of losing benefits,” explains that it’s common for a grandparent of a child with a disability to die and provide an inheritance for the child in their will. It may not a large amount of money, but $5,000 will disqualify them from government programs. Until now, it meant that those who wanted to support family members with disabilities were often limited to buying groceries.
On July 1, Mississippi started a program that allows residents with disabilities to set aside money without risking the loss of government benefits. Income earned from the accounts is tax free “if spent on qualified disability-related expenses,” according to the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services. The program was created under the federal Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act signed by President Obama in 2014 and the Mississippi ABLE Act signed by Governor Phil Bryant in 2017.
In addition to the financial benefits, the mental health of participants and their families might also improve from the ABLE program. That’s because financial independence is very helpful psychologically, but the reverse is also true. Not having financial independence can be detrimental psychologically. The ability for parents to save for their disabled children might also decrease stress.
Eligibility is restricted to those who were disabled before age 26.
“There was originally not an age limit in the legislation but whenever they ran it through the budget office and they scored the cost in the legislation it was going to be … like $20 billion or something that it was going to cost the federal government if there wasn’t an age limit in there, which was going to kill the bill,” Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services chief of staff Billy Taylor told Mississippi Today. So (age limit) was put in there … to drive the cost of the program down.”
Mississippi is part of the National ABLE Alliance. It’s a partnership of states that utilize the same program. The program allows out of state residents to create ABLE accounts, allows contributors to ABLE accounts to deduct contributions from their taxable income, allows account holders to use debit cards and to choose from seven different investment options.
Call us (228) 460-5243 or email us at email@example.com to find our how your estate planning attorney can help you.
Legal disclaimer: The information in this article is provided for information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Your should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in this article or on our website (www.perklawgroup.com) without seeking legal or professional advice.
Reference: Mississippi Today (July 8, 2019) “New tax-free accounts allow Mississippians with disabilities to save without the risk of losing benefits”
Remember when you were growing up and had constant squabbles with a sibling, sometimes escalating into wrestling matches? Even though we become adults, difficult sibling dynamics sometimes remain. If you and your close relatives are opinionated and speak your minds, caring for your aging adults might be a challenge. Here are some suggestions about how to stop the in-fighting over caring for aging parents.
The cause for sleepless nights for many, now comes from worrying about aging parents. As parents age, it becomes more important to talk with them about a number of “someday” issues, advises Kanawha Metro in the article “Preparing for someday.” As their lives move into the elder years, your discussions will need to address housing, finances and end-of-life wishes.
Where do your parents want to spend their later years? It may be that they want to move to an active retirement community not far from where they live now, or they may want a complete change of scenery, perhaps in a warmer climate.
One family made arrangements for their mother to take a tour of a nearby senior-living community, after their father passed. By showing their mother the senior-living community, they made an unknown, slightly intimidating thing into a familiar and attractive possibility. Because she saw the facility with no pressure, just a tour and lunch, she knew what kind of options it presented. The building was clean and pretty, and the staff was friendly. Therefore, it was a positive experience. She was able to picture herself living there.
Money becomes an issue, as parents age. If the person who always handled the family finances passes away, often the surviving spouse is left trying to figure out what has been done for the last five decades. A professional can help, especially if they have had a long-standing relationship.
However, when illness or an injury takes the surviving spouse out of the picture, even for a little while, things can get out of control fast. It only takes a few weeks of not being able to write checks or manage finances, to demonstrate the wisdom of having children or a trusted person named with a power of attorney to be able to pay bills and manage the household.
As parents age and their health becomes fragile, they need help with doctor appointments. Having a child or trusted adult go with them to speak up on their behalf, or explain any confusing matters, is very important.
Having an estate plan in place is another part of the business of aging that needs to be accomplished. It may be helpful to go with your parents to meet with an estate planning attorney to create documents that include a last will and testament, durable power of attorney and advanced health care directive. Without these documents, executing their estate or helping them if they become incapacitated will be more complex, and more costly.
Eliminate a scavenger hunt by making sure that at least two siblings know where the originals of these documents are.
One of the more difficult conversations has to do with end-of-life and funeral arrangements. Where do your parents want to be buried, or do they want to be cremated? What should be done with their remains?
What do they want to be done with their personal belongings? Are there certain items that they want to be given to certain members of the family, or other people they care for? One family used masking tape and a marker to write the names of the people they wanted to receive certain items.
Finally, what do they want to happen to their pets? If there is a family member who says they will take their parent’s pet, can that person be trusted to follow through? There needs to be a Plan A, Plan B and Plan C so that the beloved pet can be assured a long and comfortable life after their owner has passed.
Yes, these are difficult conversations. However, not having them can lead to far more difficult issues. Knowing what your loved ones wish to happen, and making it enforceable with an estate plan, provides everyone in the family with peace of mind.
Reference: Kanawha Metro (May 29, 2019) “Preparing for someday”