Recently I read an article on the various strategies available for achieving success in elder care using the acronym “SOS” to illustrate the path toward creating a positive solution. With a different spin, this simple strategy works great with estate planning as well. The fact is, it costs little to research your options and create a plan to address your long-term health and financial needs now – yet it can save thousands of dollars in the long run. The key is getting started and getting informed. Here’s a little SOS for those of you who are still putting off creating your estate plan.
S – SITUATION. The first step is simply acknowledging the plain fact that we are all aging, and as we age our needs change. This can be especially true for seniors, whose health can be great one day and suffering the next. Everyone will be impacted by long-term care in some way, but no one wants to talk about it. Even if you never need it, your loved ones might.
O – OPTIONS. Once you have accepted the situation the next step is becoming informed about your options. Does your current estate plan meet the needs of your changing life? If you don’t have a plan, what services are available to you? What does long-term care actually cost and how would your family pay if you needed it? From in-home aides to nursing homes, long-term care can cost thousands per month, and is not covered by traditional insurance or Medicare. Do your homework so you know what to expect.
S – SOLUTIONS. Knowing your options allows you to choose a plan for your future. If you wait until a crisis hits, it’s too late. Take time now to research solutions. Talk with an elder law attorney, look at government programs, and talk to your family about your concerns. By planning ahead you get to choose how these things are handled, rather than waiting for someone else to tell you how things will be.