Would You Rather Receive Interest or Pay Interest?

receive money or pay moneyWould You Rather Receive Interest or Pay Interest?

That is the question…..I saw it again this week.  A sweet lady mistakenly thought that the only way she could pre-fund her funeral is to make small monthly payments, over a several year period, and pay interest for the “privilege” of setting aside her own money!  WRONG!  By using a Funeral Trust, you can make small monthly payments, over the number of years you choose, and RECEIVE interest, much like a savings account.  You do NOT have to pay interest to a third party for the “privilege” of saving your OWN money for your OWN final arrangements!

Family Matters

Family Matters

The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy states that “more than ever before, families are providing long-term care to older adults with limitations in the ability to perform tasks necessary for independent living. Nearly 25% of American households are providing care to people age 50 years and over.
Families are the alternative foundation for a stressed healthcare system. Hospital stays are shorter than ever and family caregivers are often expected to do what healthcare professionals once did.”
Family caregivers take over various responsibilities for their elders.  It may be just handling finances, running errands, going to doctor appointments or taking on full 24 hour care services.  In most cases one sibling in the family will become the main caregiver, but most successful ventures are supported by the entire family.
There is a saying that it takes a village to raise a child.  This may be true, but it takes a family to care for an aging parent.  As seniors lose physical and cognitive function they become vulnerable and unable to manage their own care.  Who better to know their needs and desires than their own children.  Even if professional care givers are providing services, family involvement makes the difference in quality of life for their parents.
“If one family member has been designated caregiver other members can give support with respite care, transportation to doctors, etc., everyone needs to be aware of all that is needed and be in total agreement to do it.”  The 4 Steps of Long Term Care Planning
Experience has shown that even families that are close can quickly grow angry, jealous and hostile towards
each other when an aging parent begins to need long term care. If a sibling moves into the parent’s home, others can easily be suspicious of ulterior motives and fear to lose their inheritance. On the other hand, the child doing the entire care taking becomes bitter and feels there is no support or help from siblings.
One example of a family misunderstanding is that of a brother accusing his sister of stealing all of the money from the sale of his parent’s home.
Karen, who was a single mom with two children, moved in with her parents when her father had a stroke to help her mother take care of him. Her mother was also disabled. Needing money to pay for a home care service, Karen helped her mother do a reverse mortgage on the home, which gave the needed funds. If communication had been open and Karen’s brother had known the need and been involved with his parents care, he would not have reacted so negatively when he eventually found out about the reverse mortgage.
Every family is different. Some families are close and some have never been compatible. If your communication is strained, consider having a professional mediator present at a family meeting. The mediator will be able to keep things calm and running smoothly and help work out each persons concern.
Family matters.  The experience of working together for their parents care can give aging parents and family members a peaceful, memorable experience.

My Kids Will Never Do That….

my kids would never do thatMy Kids Will Never Do That….

How many kids do you have? Do the kids ever disagree?  Is one a dominant personality?  Are they equal  in financial assets?  Do they have spouses that get along well with your family?

These are some of the questions to answer when pre-planning your final arrangements.  By making your pre-plans, one important gift you are giving your kids is family harmony.  My dad used to say we shouldn’t “borrow trouble.”  However, when no pre-plans are in place – that is exactly what we are doing  – borrowing trouble, especially if our children are not “equal” financially and personality-wise.

Have You Checked Your Beneficiaries Lately?

have you checked you beneficiariesHave You Checked Your Beneficiaries Lately?

One of the most common omissions that people make in their financial planning is to review their beneficiaries every year or so.  Choose a specific date and make yourself a reminder, along with a list of your holdings and take the time  for a review.  If you have a financial advisor, review your beneficiaries with him/her.  Make a list of all of your insurance policies, your bank accounts and your investments.  Make sure that the person(s) listed as beneficiaries is still appropriate.

Life Resource Planning Meets Needs Beyond Retirement

Life Resource Planning Meets Needs Beyond Retirement

 Seniors are the fastest growing segment of the population, not only in the United States, but in the world. Currently, individuals age 65 and over represent 13% of the U. S. population – about 41 million people – but this will grow to 20% — 88 million — in just a matter of 38 years. Seniors also control a great deal of the wealth in this country. (USNews)
Even though many seniors have put together financial plans or completed retirement planning, very few have a plan in place for later life needs.
Most healthy, active seniors ignore this type of planning. The need for later life planning is typically recognized when, due to the aging process,
  • the senior’s family realizes that their loved one’s savings and investments will run out,

Let the Math do the Talking…..

mathLet the Math do the Talking…..

“Bless your little pointed head….”  my high school Algebra teacher, Mrs. Benedict, said this to me often.  I always struggled with math and didn’t like numbers much.  But when I began to help clients with their final arrangements – I could easily do the math.

Advanced Directives, Fiduciaries, Guardianship, and Power of Attorney

Advanced Directives, Fiduciaries, Guardianship, and Power of Attorney

by Valerie Buck
We all love our aging parents. In certain situations, a portion of our love must be devoted to assisting parents who have lost their ability to think clearly and make rational decisions. It is common, as time goes along, for the elderly to become unable to make sound decisions about a variety of issues includes finances, health care and managing themselves at home. Dementia, blindness, or frailty can all play a part in this loss of independence. Below are a few options for you to consider as you ponder on ways to assist a loved one.

Power of Attorney

Power of attorney grants legal authority to an individual to make decisions on behalf of another. Laws for creating a power of attorney vary from state to state and can be limited to specific issues or broadened to handle many issues such as personal and financial matters.

Advanced Directive

An advance directive is a document in which a person uses to make provisions for health care decisions in case that person becomes unable to make such decisions. There are two main types of advance directives: a Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. In some cases, a hybrid of these two directives can be set up. [1]
Living Will
This is a signed, witnessed document called a declaration or directive in which most instruct an attending physician to withhold or withdraw medical intervention from its signer if the signer’s condition is terminal and is unable to make decisions about medical treatment. [1]
Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
This is a signed, witnessed document in which the signer designates an agent to make health care decisions on behalf of the signer if the signer is temporarily or permanently unable to make such decisions. The signer does not have to have a terminal condition. The agent in this case will have the authority to decide if health care will be provided, withheld or withdrawn from the signer. [1]


In many states the terms guardianship and fiduciary are used interchangeably. The laws, however, governing these terms vary from state to state. According to Law.com, a fiduciary is an agent in whom complete confidence is placed by another in regard to either a particular transaction or all of one’s general affairs or business. The relationship is not necessarily formally or legally established as in a declaration of trust, but can be one of moral or personal responsibility, due to the superior knowledge and training of the fiduciary as compared to the one whose affairs the fiduciary is handling.


Guardianship is an option available when an aging parent does not have a power of attorney or advanced directive already in place. Guardians are appointed based on professional opinions and a decision of the court once a person is declared incompetent. The court transfers the responsibility for managing finances, living arrangements and medical decisions to the guardian.  This process can take a lot time.  Guardians can be given limited or broad authority over an individual.  Sometimes guardianship can be distributed to multiple people. Guardians may be required to report to the court on a regular basis about a variety of issues.
If someone is appointed a guardian, and the incapacitated person already has an agent under a durable power of attorney or health care advance directive, the court will normally determine whether the agent’s authority shall continue.

Considering any of the above?

When establishing responsibility for help with an individual’s decision making and care, it is extremely important to do what is right for that individual. The right course of action should be based on the needs of the individual, what stage of life they are in, and their personal preferences. Regardless of which option you might utilize from above, take advantage of a good elder law attorney in your area. They understand eldercare issues and varying state laws. A good elder law attorney will make sure all parties understand the implications and responsibilities of each option.
To find an elder law attorney in your area please visit http://longtermcarelink.net/a2cfindattorney.htm
Article reposted courtesy of  longtermcarelink.net

[1] http://www.patientsrightscouncil.org/site/advance-directives-definitions/

We don’t have any money…..

we don't have any moneyWe don’t have any money…..

The calls came one day apart…

The first young man said that his mother had died and they had no money and they didn’t know who to call, because they had no money for a funeral.  The next day when I answered the phone, another young man was calling because his mother-in-law was expected to die within the next 24 hours.  His question was the same – they had no money, did I know a funeral home that would work for free or take payments.

Who Will Carry Your Burden?

who is going to carry your burdenWho Will Carry Your Burden?

A few years ago, after my dad had suffered the ups and downs of leukemia for about two years, mom and I were in his hospital room while he was sleeping.  She looked at me and said “I think you better go buy a casket.”  I asked her where she wanted me to go, called my husband and we went to a local funeral home, sat down with a funeral director, were handed a catalog of caskets and asked to choose one.  I looked at a few choices, pointed to one and said “that one.”  She said “ok” and closed her file folder.