What kind of financial planning and guidance do seniors need?
As seniors head into retirement, they are faced with many financial questions that require expert help. Some of those questions may include:
- Is it time to consider estate planning?
- Should I buy a new home or consider a reverse mortgage?
- Is an accountant or bookkeeper necessary?
- Can a financial planner help seniors manage their retirement better?
- Who can help me find the financial experts I need?
Senior Estate Concierge can provide the answers to these questions, as we can help seniors and their families locate the financial experts they need. That includes estate planning attorneys, real estate agents, counselors, accounting services and financial planners. Together, these financial experts can help seniors and their loved ones find peace of mind knowing they have a plan in place.
What is the importance of estate planning?
Estate planning takes on additional importance for seniors, as many have questions about how their assets will be handled once they pass on. These assets may include bank accounts, life insurance policies, securities like stocks, real estate, vehicles and more.
Without estate planning, families may argue over who gets what, which can delay or prevent loved ones from getting what they are promised. Here’s how estate planning can help avoid unfortunate scenarios:
Name beneficiaries and an executor
During estate planning, you decide who receives what, and who has the power to carry out your final wishes. This will minimize confusion after you are gone, expediting probate and ensuring your loved ones receive their inheritance.
Reduce the impact of probate and taxes on your estate
Most assets must pass through probate, which is the state’s legal process for determining who receives what after you are gone. This process is expensive and it, along with other taxes, can take a large piece out of your estate. Estate planning attorneys know what can be done to reduce this tax impact, so there’s more left for your loved ones.
Set up trusts or other tools to speed up probate further
Living trusts and other tools, like payable on death bank accounts, can bypass probate altogether, which is helpful if you want to pass on assets to someone else immediately or with certain conditions attached. There are special rules that people must follow when setting up a trust, so expert legal assistance is recommended.
Dictate medical and funeral arrangements
Estate planning can also protect seniors in the event that they can no longer make their own medical decisions. These wishes can be detailed during estate planning and assets set aside to pay for them. This ensures seniors are cared for even if they can no longer care for themselves. Further, funeral arrangements can be dictated during estate planning, so your loved ones don’t have to scramble to pay for burial or other arrangements.
Estate planning attorneys are the go-to experts in this area, so they have experience working with seniors and resolving their concerns.
How can Senior Estate Concierge help seniors who need a traditional or reverse mortgage?
Many seniors adapt to their changing financial and housing needs by either buying a new house (using a traditional mortgage) or opting for a reverse mortgage. Here’s a quick look at both:
Most seniors and homebuyers are familiar with a traditional mortgage. To secure one, homebuyers select from a range of loan terms, offer a down payment upfront and continue making payments once the loan is locked in. Once the loan’s terms are met, you own the home.
A reverse mortgage is only available for people over 62 years old and, like a traditional mortgage, acts like a large loan that uses the house as collateral. Unlike a traditional mortgage, though, you aren’t responsible for making payments with a reverse mortgage. Property taxes and homeowner’s insurance are still required, but no loan payments are necessary until the homeowner passes, sells the home or moves.
This allows seniors to remain in their home and use their home’s equity to pay for other expenses. For seniors whose finances are unstable, a reverse mortgage can provide needed support. However, there are risks associated with a reverse mortgage, though some risks can be avoided with proper financial planning and counseling.
Real estate agents are usually the people to speak with when considering a traditional mortgage. Reverse mortgages, though, are regulated at the federal level and the Department of Housing can help seniors determine their options.
Senior Estate Concierge can help seniors find an agent or reverse mortgage specialist to ensure their financial and residential needs are met.
When do seniors need accounting services?
Accounting and bookkeeping services are only needed in certain circumstances, but as an increasing number of seniors are using rental properties to boost their income, accounting services are becoming more important. These services are helpful for those who meet the following criteria:
- Own a business or rental property
- Have an income in excess of $200,000 annually
- Expect to make a lot of money through capital gain
- Wish to leave an inheritance for loved ones
Accounting services make sense for seniors in the above circumstances. Accountants are money experts that can help file your taxes, reduce your tax burden, understand financial regulations and find areas to save money.
How can financial planning help seniors?
Financial planning experts can help seniors meet their financial goals, whether it’s saving for retirement, helping a grandchild save for college or investing wisely. Financial planning experts look at a senior’s complete financial picture, including their income, cash flow, investments, assets, savings and capital. With this information, a financial planner can set up a framework for their clients to achieve their goals on time, so there’s no guesswork or confusion.
Financial planning is especially important for seniors considering retirement, as retirement requires extended financial forecasting. Without a long-range plan in place, seniors may find that their retirement savings and Social Security aren’t enough.
How can long-term care insurance protect seniors?
The cost of long-term care is higher than many people realize, yet about half of today’s 65-year-olds will require it, according to a study published by the Department of Health & Human Services. Standard health insurance usually doesn’t cover long-term care, and Medicare only provides limited access to skilled nursing (which is what many long-term care patients require).
To handle the cost of long-term care, many seniors and younger people opt for long-term care insurance. Like other insurance policies, you pay monthly premiums to keep the policy active, and once it’s needed, the policy pays up to the limits for the care. For most policies, the coverage kicks in once the policy beneficiary can no longer properly perform self-care. Specifically, that means a senior who can no longer do at least two of the following without assistance:
- Getting on or off the toilet
- Getting in or out of a bed or chair
- Caring for incontinence
The policy’s price and terms vary depending on several factors, including:
- Age and health
- Gender (women typically live longer, so their premiums may cost a bit more)
- Marital status (married couples may pay a reduced premium)
- Coverage limits
The insurance company you select will also determine the policy’s cost to a large extent, so it’s highly recommended that seniors speak with a financial advisor or agent before making a decision.
Seniors need a team of financial advisors to ensure a smooth, fulfilling retirement. Senior Estate Concierge can help seniors and their loved ones find and establish a connection with these experts, so you don’t have to put your financial planning team together on your own.