Tips for Funding Senior Living Expenses

One of the most essential aspects of getting older is planning ahead to pay for long-term care. Although not every senior will need it, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services article, “Who Needs Care?,” the odds are most seniors age 65 and above will need long-term care at some point in their years ahead. To plan ahead now for funding senior living and avoid the stress and financial uncertainty of being caught unaware, there are three primary steps to take.

3 steps to take to plan for funding senior living and long-term care

Step #1: Organize financial documents and records

Financial planning is often an ongoing endeavor that changes over time as children grow up, careers change, and wealth is accumulated. As a result, many seniors lose track of exactly where their financial records are and what they may contain that should be part of the plan for funding senior living and long-term care. Before taking any other steps, take the time to gather all financial documents and records in one place so they are readily available. Among these are:

  • Bank and brokerage account information: Include account numbers, contact information for brokerage firms, and most up-to-date balance information.
  • Mortgages and deeds: Original mortgages and deeds to other properties like vacation homes or commercial real estate that prove ownership.
  • Insurance policies: Long-term care insurance policies and agent contact information, as well as life insurance policies that may be converted for funding senior living.
  • Ongoing monthly or outstanding bills: Include all monthly payments for utilities, mortgage, insurance, car payments, and loans, as well payments for medical care and other outstanding debts.
  • Retirement accounts and pension benefits: Include 401(k) accounts, Roth 401(k) accounts, individual retirement accounts IRAs), Roth IRAs, simplified employee pension IRAs, annuities, and pension documents that can be used for funding senior living.
  • Social security payment documents: All letters from the Social Security Administration, particularly the most recent annual letter explaining benefits and other information.
  • Medicare/Medicaid documents.
  • Stocks and bonds: All certificates and transaction records showing purchase or sale of an investment.
  • Any other documents associated with funding senior living like those explained in our blog, “A Look at Ways to Fund Senior Living.”

In addition, it is a good idea to also include:

  • Wills: A copy of your will showing the beneficiaries of your estate.
  • Durable power of attorney: Sometimes called a DPOA, this document defines the person or persons who are designated to make health and/or financial decisions on your behalf if you are mentally incapacitated.
  • Advanced directives: A document that tells family and medical care providers your wishes in the event you are incapacitated including what if any extraordinary measures should be taken to prolong your life such as being resuscitated or put on a ventilator.

Download our free guide, Family Guide to Paying for Senior Living.”

Step #2: Hold a family meeting

When planning for funding senior living, it is important to discuss your desires with your family so everyone understands your concerns, wishes and goals. During this meeting it is a good practice to assign different responsibilities to other members in the event you become incapacitated, such as paying monthly bills, preparing tax returns, completing and submitting medical claims, and managing investments and the sale of a home or other properties if needed. Another aspect to include is who will take care of family pets if you no longer can. For an overview of how to hold a productive get-together check out the article, “How to Hold a Family Meeting to Plan Care.”

Step #3: Consult a professional

Now that you have a general plan with your family, it’s time to work with a licensed professional financial planner and/or your estate planning attorney to get all the details ironed out. Choosing a professional who specializes in long-term care or elder care can help you get answers to all your questions quickly and create a plan for funding senior living before you retire. Among the many important aspects to cover are:

  • How to estimate the amount needed.
  • Which current assets can be used for funding senior living.
  • Additional sources of funding such as through programs like the Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefit.
  • Tax implications.

To find a financial planner to help you create the perfect plan, the article, “Financial Planning,” offers a number of trusted resources.

More tips for funding senior living can be found in our free guide, “Family Guide to Paying for Senior Living.” Contact us today to learn more about Thrive Senior Living and schedule a tour.

Thrive Family Funding Guide