There are a number of older adults who can no longer live safely on their own but who also don’t need the level of specialized care provided in nursing homes. For adults who cannot live independently and require daily assistance, intermediate care facilities are one option to consider.

Intermediate care facilities (ICFs) are a residential option that can house seniors on a long-term basis. Staff can help residents with managing medical conditions and activities of daily living, including:

·        bathing

In the wake of the pandemic, the topic of estate planning has suddenly become a lot less taboo, according to Lee Baker, a certified financial planner based in Atlanta. “We get more calls around estate planning,” he says.

Baker is the founder, owner, and president of Apex Financial Services and is a member of CNBC’s Advisor Council.

“The last 36 months shifted the mindset,” explains Baker. “A lot of people have taken this opportunity to reassess.”

If it’s been years since you drafted or last updated your will, it likely references many of your existing assets, such as retirement plan accounts and life insurance policies. You also have paperwork on file with the applicable financial institutions. It’s possible that you have modified one of these documents after life events such as new births, deaths, or relationship changes without updating the other document.

It’s important to keep your will as well as your retirement plan or life insurance documents up to date. If your will names different beneficiaries from your documents on file, which one controls who these assets go to?

The beneficiary designations in your retirement plan and life insurance documents supersede what is written in your will. However, having different beneficiaries listed could cause conflict, confusion, and turmoil for your loved ones. It’s possible that one party may even try to legally challenge it.

In the last post, I wrote about 5 different major life events and changes for which you should revisit and potentially revise your estate plan. Here are 3 more life changes that are cause to take another look at your estate plan and update your documents if necessary:

  1. You may need to change important individuals within your estate plan. If you haven’t updated your estate plan in many years and previously chose a Personal Representative, Agent for your Power of Attorney, or Trustee, take time to revisit this selection. Evaluate whether the individuals you named are still the best choice for your current family and estate situation.
  2. You start or purchase a new business. Although a lot of business owners do an excellent job of building successful businesses, there are less business owners who take the time to create a good succession plan or properly incorporate their succession plan into their estate plan.

Perhaps you met with a lawyer and created an estate plan when you were younger, soon after getting married and having children. Now your kids have grown into adults and may be married and/or have children of their own.

No matter your specific life situation, there are a number of life events and changes that need to be reflected in your estate plan and will likely mean your estate plan needs to be updated. Below are 5 examples of major life changes for which your estate plan needs to be revisited:

  1. You have divorced, been widowed, remarried, or are in a relationship and living together. Following any big change in your family and relationships (new arrivals or departures), make sure to review your estate plan to ensure that your estate is going where YOU want it to go.

No one wants to think about their own death, and planning for one’s own funeral isn’t easy. Immediately following a loved one’s death, family members are already very distressed. It is hard enough to follow through with funeral arrangements that have been outlined in one’s will or other estate planning document. It is far more difficult when no arrangements have been made at all.

Family members might also live in different places around the country or world. Coordinating a funeral from far away can be very complicated and stressful.

You can make things much easier for your family members and loved ones by designating one person to take on the main responsibilities of your funeral and issues related to it. The executor is often chosen for this role, although it may make more sense to designate someone else depending on your situation. Choosing ahead of time who will make sure your wishes are carried out can provide some comfort and assurance to you and your loved ones.

When it comes to the part of your financial plan related to health, things such as insurance premiums and copays might be what come to mind.

These expenses are important. However, according to certified financial planner and physician Carolyn McClanahan, founder of Life Planning Partners in Jacksonville, Florida, your health should influence many other parts of your financial plan.

“It’s way more than that,” McClanahan says. “A healthy person needs a totally different [financial] plan from someone who has health issues.”

Last week I began writing about what hospice care is, who can benefit from it, and when this type of care is recommended. Today I will continue on this topic, including who makes up a hospice care team, who pays for hospice home care, and determining if in-home hospice is right for you.

Who Makes Up a Hospice Care Team?

A number of different types of people can make up a hospice team, including various professionals and volunteers who are involved in end-of-life care. A hospice care team may include:

Hospice care is a type of health care for those with terminally ill conditions as they near the end of their lives. The focus of hospice care is on the management of pain as well as emotional, spiritual, and familial support for the patient.

For patients receiving hospice care, there are a number of different options, including being cared for at home. The type of intimate care someone received while in hospice fits well with being given in the peaceful environment of a patient’s own home.

This week I will write about who can benefit from this type of care and when hospice is recommended, and next week I will write about who makes up a hospice care team, who pays for hospice home care, and determining if in-home hospice is right for you.

As a parent with young children, you’ve put a lot of thought into the best way to raise your kids, including things such as the school they attend and the beliefs and values they are taught. But have you considered what would happen if you (and your spouse, if you are married) pass away suddenly? You can help ensure the best care for your children with some advance estate planning.

With a will, there’s a way

The biggest step you can take to make sure your intentions are known and followed is to name a guardian in your will. If you haven’t named a specific guardian in your will already, you can add a clause or, if necessary, draft a new will to do this.