Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Questions for end of life planning 2

Do your children know who your professional team is?
As you prepare the legal documents you will be choosing people that you trust and who know you, in some cases, this person may be an adult child. The children should know if you have called in other professionals who can help ease the process of settling the estate, filing insurance claims, finding and managing all the assets and more. Not only do they need to know if you have called in these professionals but they should know how to contact them if needed.

As we get older, we need more medical care, do your children know who your doctor is and how to contact the doctorThis is basic information and should be known by anyone who might be around or contacted if you should have a medical emergency.

If your children are helping you, they may need details such as a copy of your driver’s license, Social Insurance number, date of birth, place of birth, mother’s maiden name, previous addresses and access to your Medicare card and any other insurance card. Even an agent under a power of attorney or your representative under the representation agreement or your advance directive often has to provide some of this information before being allowed to take action.

Do your children know where you want to live as you age?
If the home becomes too much for you, would you prefer to move into an apartment or a place with more services, such as independent living or assisted living residence or would you like to pay for home care aides? Do you expect to move in with one of your children?

It is a good idea to consider these options and explore the choices in your area well before you need to make a decision. Otherwise, if the time comes someone will make the decision for you and it will be made in a hurry.

What do you want to happen to your remains when you die?
It is not unusual for a child to remember a casual comment a parent made years earlier about funerals, burial, or cremations and interpret that as a last wish.
Sometimes two or more children have contradictory memories about such comments. 

These memories can cause great frictions in families so write down any preferences you have and be clear about these wishes. Tell all of your children the details of this question. The children should know the answers to these questions before the need is apparent. Because you’re unlikely to be able to help with the answers when the information is needed.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Questions for end of life planning

Families need to talk about the end of life wishes and plans. My sister-in-law who is a Palliative Care Nurse tells many horror stories of families who have a loved one dying but don’t know what the loved one's wishes are when it comes to the final stages of life and estate planning. So here are some questions that children should be asked and hopefully, they can give answers that show they understand your wishes, if not it is, I think, your responsibility to tell them your wishes.

Do they know if you have a Representative Agreement, (BC only), or an Enduring Power of Attorney, an advance care plan or an advance directive? If so, do they know the details of your enduring power of attorney, and advance directive? 

According to The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), most people will spend between 3.5 and 1. 5 years needing extra medical care as they age. In Canada and the US, we will need about 2 years of extra care. Over that two-year period, we may not be able to speak for ourselves. We will have to have someone else handling our affairs or making medical decisions for us.

A Representative Agreement, (BC only), an Enduring Power of Attorney, or an advance directive documents empower people to do just that. Your children should know which of these documents you have and where they are located. They also should know who is appointed to act on your behalf, who the successors are, and how to contact all of them.

What assets are in your Will and what assets are outside of the Will?
If you have a great number of assets you may have put them into a trust to avoid probate. The advantage of this is these assets won’t be subject to the terms of the Will or public scrutiny. Your beneficiaries and your children need to know if you have a living trust, where the trust agreement is, and who the current and successor trustees are.

Do your beneficiaries and your children know where your Will is kept?
I gave a workshop on Wills and one of the participants told me that her mother had made a Will and the children all knew about the Will, but when her mother died, they could not find the Will. Her mom had hidden it away and her mom was a hoarder. Register your Will, pay your lawyer to keep a copy of your Will or at least tell your executor and your children where the Will is kept.
A good idea is to give your children some knowledge of what you have put into the Will so major surprises are avoided.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

How much will I need when I retire?

How much you will need for retirement will depend on the lifestyle you plan to lead once retired. Will you travel? take up expensive hobbies? downsize? live frugally? relocate? The key is to start saving/investing early in life and do it with every paycheck. Take advantage of 401k or your RRSP plans if offered and max out contributions whenever possible.

It is also important to stay healthy. First, because you will be better able to enjoy life and second, medical costs will most likely be greater if you are not healthy. There are many web pages on ageing, health, travelling and many may have retirement and health calculators.

The average age of retirement is officially 67 in the United States, but retirement actually starts at age 61, for many Americans. They do say that they planned to work longer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — you should plan to be retired for at least a few decades at least 2 if not three decades.
Your longevity may vary based on things such as your work (for example, executive versus assembly line worker), diet, family health history and participation in extreme sports leagues and your sex.
The average budget for a retiree, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, or an older household, defined as ones headed by someone 65 or older, spend $46,000 annually. The top three-monthly expenses for those 65 or older are housing ($1,322), health care ($500) and food ($484).
Half of a retired household’s income comes from Social Security as well as private and government pensions, according to the BLS, with personal savings and investment and rental income providing 6.9 percent.
An online retirement calculator can project a more accurate picture of your retirement readiness. It will use your current saving, spending and investment profile, and some rules of thumb about historical investment returns, reasonable withdrawal rates and, yes, life expectancy.
What if the math shows that at the rate you’re going, you’ll outlive your retirement savings? If you’re not yet retired, one of the best moves is postponing your retirement. This strategy is especially valuable for those in their peak earning years.
Besides reducing the number of years you’ll need to live off your savings, working longer allows more time for your investments to grow.
If you’re already retired and un-retiring or waiting to file for Social Security aren’t feasible, there are other ways to make up for the shortfall between retirement income and expenses.
        Leverage your home as a last resort.
        Take your investments and shop for an immediate annuity.
        Budget and reduce the amount you spend, taking out less money from your savings.
        Seek assistance from family or from the government. There are government, non-profit and for-profit programs that provide benefits to struggling seniors.

Are you a Romeo?

I read the following tweet recently and thought it was funny.

My grandmother lived to be 102.
When I asked her what her secret was, she said, “God’s punishing me.”
 I guess as we get older, we see the humour in many more things then we did when we were younger. We were sitting at our favourite pub on Friday having lunch, and another group of men came and sat down at the table near to us.

One of the men just before he sat down, turned to us and said, "I know what you are."

So, one of my friends said, "Oh what are we?"

The other man smiled and said, "You are a bunch of Romeos’."

We all laughed and one of my other friends said, "We try to be, but how did you know?"

The young waitress standing near the table started to smile and then she just started to laugh. The other man said, "Oh no, I don't mean the romantic Romeo."

We all must have looked puzzled because he continued, "We are also Romeo's."

Another of our group asked, "What do you mean?"

The man replied, "We are, "Retired Old Men Eating Out or R.O. M.E.O. for short."

We all laughed and agreed that we were, in fact, R.O.M.E. O’s. We then asked do you do this often, as we had not seen them in the pub before.

The man continued "Yes we meet every Tuesday for lunch."
We must have looked confused as we all thought it was Friday, so after a bit of back and forth about days and times, the other man explained they could not do it on Tuesday this week, so they moved to Friday.

So now we go out we will, I think, refer to ourselves as R.O.M.E.O's not members of the PGA (Pissed Golfers Association) which is a more appropriate name for our group.