What Does It Really Cost to Be a Caregiver?

When thinking about your estate plan, you must consider what might happen to you or your loved ones if you were no longer able to care for yourself. This is an increasingly common situation as it relates to caregiving for adult children today. Emotional and financial stress can represent significant changes in their life so if the default of your elder law plan is that a family member will step in and care for you, think carefully about how this could impact them and other loved ones.

Many people have had to step back from their careers to care for elderly loved ones and while this is still likely the first choice of the person who has stepped back, wanting to provide the best for their family, it doesn’t come without stress. In fact, a recent study from Fidelity Investments found that over 60% of active caregivers said they were at least occasionally overwhelmed with financial stress.

Plenty of them had to take significant time out of their jobs with the average time out of the workforce being 20 months. Furthermore, many of them took pay cuts when they went back to work at a median of 40% of what they were making previously. Thinking ahead about your caregiving plan and how you can minimize the possible burden on your loved ones is important.

While your loved ones will likely tell you that it’s not a burden to take care of you, the more proactive you can be with your estate and elder law planning, can make it that much easier for you to reduce the stress faced by your loved ones in this already difficult situation. For more information about crafting an estate and elder law plan unique to your family’s dynamics, schedule a consultation with an estate planning attorney.

New Study Shows Women Made Significant Changes to Their Planning Post Pandemic

The pandemic has had far reaching implications for many individuals and families and that has never been more true than now as it relates to the case for women. Women face a higher likelihood of a greater life expectancy than men, meaning that issues of long-term care, health care costs, and how to afford a lengthy retirement are all top of mind. 

A recent study of estate planning attorneys found that many women visited their offices to make changes to their estate plans across 2020 and 2021. In fact, nearly 90% of estate planning lawyers said that female clients had experienced significant financial repercussions due to the global pandemic. This included leaving the workforce, taking a pay cut or losing their jobs entirely.

Prolonged life expectancy became the number one estate planning issue for women and men alike in 2020 and estate planning attorneys reported that many of their female clients visited their offices to make changes to their estate plan. I

n fact, nearly 90% of estate planning lawyers who participated in a recent TD Wealth survey said that they made changes to their female clients’ estate plans, including updating wills, creating post mortem letters, updating letter of attorney documents and changing beneficiary or guardian designations. If it’s been a while since you’ve sat down with your experienced estate planning lawyer to talk through your options, schedule a consultation with an experienced lawyer today.

What to Know About Financial Losses from Gray Divorce

Gray divorce, which refers to the number of adults age 50 and above deciding to end their marriages has increased by over 109% in the last quarter of a century. There are many different reasons contributing to the rise in gray divorce.

The couple’s purpose can change when adult children move away, new opportunities are embraced by those for living longer, women are becoming more financially dependent enabling them to make decisions like this, society has overall become more accepting of divorce and many people are choosing happiness above lifestyle and financial security.

But the primary fact remains; divorce after age 50 can be devastating financially when most of your spending habits, savings and intentions for retirement are built off of both of you. The cost of living on your own can be up to 40% to 50% higher than for couples when looking at it on per person basis. The cost of divorce alone can be a financial setback that is significant, generating over $15,000 more just to end the marriage.

Household income can also decrease significantly after a gray divorce. It drops by 40% for women but only 25% for men. Scheduling a consultation with an experienced New Jersey estate planning lawyer is one of the most important things you can do when you are contemplating gray divorce to ensure that all of your documents and strategies are aligned with where you’re headed not where you’ve been.

How Has the Pandemic Impacted Retirement?

Major changes in the world and current events always have the potential to impact retirement plans and schedules. Research has started to emerge indicating how some workers were forced into early retirement as a result of the pandemic. At the same time, those already in retirement were not able to enjoy their normal life since travel and time with family were really limited. Concerns over getting COVID 19 impacted people all over the world, but prompted plenty of people to think about how their savings and retirement plans might have to shift as a result.

Others turned to estate planning during these difficult times in order to ensure that their wishes were properly documented for their loved ones. Economic experts have also chimed in that the far-reaching implications of the pandemic will influence different sectors of the workforce in unique ways. That’s called a K-shaped recovery in which some people and industries are able to thrive during difficult times and others will stall out or fold completely.

Prior to the pandemic, the number of Baby Boomers entering retirement was around 2 million per year. However, in the third quarter of 2020, the number of new retirees had already hit 3.2 million. Whether it was the reminder of mortality provided by the pandemic or a forced retirement as a result of changes in the industry, Boomers entering retirement have to think not just about their day to day costs but also the potential impact of healthcare concerns.

Long term care is one of the biggest financial challenges facing those entering retirement. Most people intend to rely on government services like Medicare or Medicaid but might not have a clear understanding of what these programs do and don’t do. Having a clear plan and an existing relationship with an estate planning lawyer can be critical first steps in ensuring that you’ve either created a plan or evolved it due to changing circumstances and goals.

What Is the Difference Between Estate Planning and Elder Law?

As you look towards your future, you might want to schedule meetings with both an elder lawyer and estate planner, or to find an attorney who practices in both of these spaces. While there is some crossover, certain lawyers focus only on one or another.

As you think about end of life issues and the proper administration and transfer of your assets to your loved ones, you may have questions about the difference between estate planning and elder law.

Both estate planners and elder lawyers cover many similar issues but these are actually different concerns. The primary difference is that elder law planning seeks to preserve your assets and income for use while you are still alive to enable you to maintain your lifestyle or to enable you to have the funds available to you to be as comfortable as possible if you need to go into a nursing home.

Estate planning often considers elder law issues at least at a basic level but is more often concerned with implementing your wishes and then distributing your assets after you pass away in the most tax advantaged and efficient way. These two processes go hand in hand.

Without estate planning documents you make it difficult for your loved ones to receive your assets. Without an elder law plan to protect and preserve your income and assets, you may find that you don’t have an estate to pass onto your loved ones to begin with.

 

Can I Leave Behind an Unequal Inheritance?

Do you have questions about leaving behind unequal amounts or assets for your loved ones?

It might be simpler for the vast majority of older parents to leave the exact same inheritance or asset value to each adult child. However, equal is not always the best fit. Many more people are confronting this question in light of the pandemic. You may be concerned about protecting a child who needs it more or paying back a child who helped with caregiving in your older years. 

Although leaving equal inheritances might be the default method and still the most popular, many people are thinking about the benefits of using different amounts. A recent study by Merrill Lynch Wealth Management found that two thirds of Americans age 55 and above said that a child who gave them care should receive a bigger inheritance than those children who did not contribute. 

The study also found that one out of four parents said that an adult daughter or son who had children should get more than a child who did not. Equity will be different for different families but having a conversation with an estate planning lawyer can help you figure out the right solution for you. 

Unequal inheritances can sometimes trigger sibling infighting after a parent passes away. This is particularly true of cases in which family members believe that undue influence by a party who received more could trigger a contest of the will. For more support, make sure that you work directly with an experienced estate planning lawyer.   

What Makes Elder Law Distinct from Estate Planning?

What happens to your assets as you get older is of chief concern not just for estate planning purposes but also for your own elder law planning. The key differentiating point between estate planning and elder law is that elder law professionals look at the holistic process and consider how your key documents and assets can be used to support you throughout your life as well as your chosen beneficiaries after you pass away.

An elder law attorney will sit down with you to look at all of your unique circumstances and can assist you with the creation of estate planning documents, such as trusts or wills, but can also help you answer key questions around what your needs might be with regard to medical costs or long term care needs down the road. Experts in elder law will be familiar with many different concerns associated with aging and will have worked with many other clients in similar situations to help you avoid common blind spots.

A consultation with an elder law attorney can be extremely beneficial if you do not yet have an estate plan and have questions around what your estate plan should include. Given that many Americans are living longer than anticipated, you need to have more than a retirement plan to guide you into older years. Set aside time to speak with an elder law attorney about your distinct needs and how you can accomplish your goals.

Why You Need to Manage Your Money with Logic

It’s easy to get emotional about money, especially if you have spent much of your life working towards establishing and accomplishing financial goals. As your goals change through the various phases of your financial life, you will shift from accumulating assets to figuring out how to protect them and to distribute these to your loved ones if and when something happens to you.

Managing your money with logic is easier said than done because there’s no doubt that you’ll have some emotional connection to the financial aspect of your life. Unfortunately, headlines from the news can make it nerve wracking to approach financial management with logic rather than emotion.

Focus instead on your individual goals about how much you’ll need to live comfortably in retirement as well as pay down your debts. Projecting your retirement income based on Social Security and your current savings can give you an update about when you need to make adjustments and retool your plans for the future.

Figure out how much you need to invest and save to meet your goals and then focus on execution. Keeping your focus on the most important issues for your individual needs can help you to avoid being distracted by scary news stories and predictions about what might happen in the financial markets. You are better off partnering with a team of experienced financial and estate planning professionals who will work hard to keep you advised of what you need to know and when and how you need to make adjustments based on shifts in the law or other aspects of life. Regardless of your overall financial planning goals, you need to have a team of people who is familiar with your individual needs.     

New Study Shows That Younger Caregivers Face Challenges

Many adult children are now looking to step in and help their elderly loved ones with managing illness or disability. This requires a lot of adjustment, not just on the part of the caregiver but on the part of the person receiving support as well. caregivers face new challenges

A family member who needs support may cause sudden and long-lasting impacts on your family, dealing with the implications of such an illness and what it means for the future as well as adjustments in your career.

In an ideal situation, your loved ones would be able to get care from a nursing home or similar facility. However, with the average cost being extremely high, it could decimate someone’s savings with just one stay of a few months long in such a place. Furthermore, family members are often interested, at least in the beginning, in stepping in to help support your needs.

Caregivers often have very little training when it is a family member stepping in and this highlights why it is so important to explore all possible care options and stipulate a plan for long term care.

Given how many people are likely to suffer long term care challenges in the future, it is beneficial to schedule a consultation directly with an estate planning attorney to make things easier for your loved ones as well as you.   

 

Make Sure Your Retirement Planning Includes the Costs of Long Term Care

You might be relatively healthy now and assume that this will continue for many years. But considering that plenty of research shows that most people entering retirement will need long term care assistance at some point in their life, you should never neglect the possible health care costs of long-term care in your retirement plan. plan for retirement

The most expensive long-term care options, a nursing home, can cost up to $97,000 per year. Many Americans have a blind spot when it comes to retirement planning because they do not incorporate long-term care at all.  Many underestimate the costs of health care planning and assume that their health insurance will cover it but Medicare is extremely limited as far as the coverage provided to those individuals in nursing homes and Medicaid can be difficult to qualify for if you do have access. This means you might be required to spend through your assets or to self-fund your long-term care until Medicaid kicks in.

The U.S. government has conducted research showing that up to 70% of people aged 65 will receive some type of long-term care during their lives. This could add up to nearly $150,000 in long-term care costs over the lifetime of an elderly person, according to research released by a 2007 Bipartisan Policy Center report. Up to two-thirds of Americans aged 40 and older admit that they have done no planning for their long-term care needs, according to research shared by the Associated Press NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Your retirement planning should always incorporate long-term care needs. Schedule a consultation directly with an experienced attorney today.

Entering Retirement with Significant Debt May Affect Your Estate Plans

A recent study completed by the National Bureau of Economic Research finds that older individuals today are more likely to enter retirement with debt than compared with previous decades.  debt and retirement planning in NJ

The number of older people taking on mortgages, for example, has increased significantly when compared with previous age cohorts. Massive debt generated by American households has been featured in plenty of different academic studies but very little has been done to determine how senior citizens are affected by debt or the volume debt they accumulate close to retirement.

The study was analyzing financial vulnerability and older individuals’ debt by comparing information collected by the National Financial Capability Study and the Health and Retirement Study. Planning ahead for your assets and ensuring that your debts as they decrease are incorporated into your estate plan is extremely important.

It is also crucial to consider how indebtedness in retirement years may affect your ability to pay for your own care such as long-term care support and other medical needs that you may develop over the course of your retirement. Consulting with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney about these issues and ensuring that your retirement plan, estate plan and long-term care plan are all working together can make for a better retirement for you.

As the Retirement Age Gets Higher, Retirees Get Less Healthy

Currently, there are debates in the mix about raising the social security retirement age. However, researchers argue that this should factor in health trends for those people reaching retirement age as well. Ten years from now, Americans who were born in 1960 will be eligible to start collecting a full social security retirement change. 

A federal retirement change enacted in 1983, enables them to get the social security benefits two years later than their parents. However, today’s pre-retirement generation already indicates serious health issues and limits on their lives, when compared with previous generations. The findings were the result of the University of Michigan team, looking at data from long-term health studies and funding acquired from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

The study shows that today’s older employees will face greater challenges than their predecessors as they continue to seek out work and apply for social security disability benefits. Younger cohorts are now facing more serious health issues and in particular, as they will now have to wait until an older age to retire and do so in poor health. This could increase the chance of significant health-related costs.

The researchers found that those people born later will have to wait a longer period of time to get full Social Security benefits, also had higher rates of memory and thinking ability problems than earlier cohort groups did at similar ages. Those people who were asked to rate their own health at age 50 said it was poor or fair in larger numbers than other age categories. One in four individuals had to wait until age 66 to claim full social security disability benefits and those who had fewer than 12 years of education reported at least one health associated limitation when they were in their mid-50s. Planning ahead for long-term care costs and talking about your retirement benefits in conjunction with your estate planning are both worthwhile goals.

Women Are Living Longer and Therefore More Financial Planning Is Needed

Financial and estate planning advice is intended to apply to everyone but the strategies and tactics used maybe differentiated based on the gender and age of the person asking the questions.

The reality is that all statistics point to women longer than men and facing more significant issues when it comes to ensuring that the assets that they have saved will last throughout their expected lifetime, especially with the potential for a nursing home stay. Some of the challenges facing women also include earning less over the course of their careers largely from taking time off to be caregivers to elderly relatives or children. Furthermore, the basic gender pay gap puts women at a disadvantage for being able to save as much as their male counterparts.women living longer

The Bureau of Labor Statistics does show some promising information from 2015 that the gender pay gap is narrowing, however, women still only earn 83% of what men earn. This can translate to long-term challenges such as being able to save less for retirement, lesser social security benefits, and smaller pensions overall.

Women also face the additional problem of being more likely to live alone in their older years due to death or divorce of a spouse or by choice. Therefore, it is critical that women take individual responsibility for their financial decisions and crafting an estate plan that works for them specifically. Financial advisors, estate planning attorneys, and other experienced professionals should be leveraged in order to accomplish the necessary goals.

 

Think About Your Finances Before Becoming a Snowbird

                                                                                                            

Before you start splitting time between two or more states, think about where you’d like to have as your primary place of residence because there are several different advantages to choosing one place over another. Then, after you have made this decision for yourself, be prepared to prove that the state you choose is really your home base. By age 61, many people say that they are free to choose where they want to live, according to the results of a study from Merrill Lynch. 

Life responsibilities like work or family often dictate these decisions prior to that time. This is why it is not that surprising to see retirees move at least on a part-time basis to a new location. More than one-third of retirees, in fact, told Merrill Lynch that they have already relocated and 27% anticipated doing so. Making the decision about where you want to live is important. More than 80% of retirees intend to move to the South Atlantic. Since several states have no income tax and others have tax breaks on retirement or real estate taxes for older residents, this is something you should consider in your determination.

Some states are well-known for going after individuals who claim that they are residents in other states to avoid having the financial obligations of claiming residency in the first state. Make sure that you keep all documentation to assist yourself with minimizing the consequences of these allegations.

What You Need to Know If You Intend to Work Longer

Up to two-thirds of baby boomers intend to work beyond age 65. Some of these never expect to retire at all. Some of the most common reasons of delaying retirement or continuing to work after your retirement age include the health benefits sponsored by your employer and the need for additional income. Many people plan to stay involved in their career simply because they enjoy what they do. It is essential to take positive steps towards staying healthy, keeping your job skills up to date, getting further education and networking. It is also important to regularly monitor your projected retirement income need.long term care planning

These could be subjected to long-term care health expenses if you were to have a long-term care health event. It is also essential to have a contingency plan in the event that you’re compelled to retire for reasons other than you expected such as your health. A contingency plan can give you peace of mind that no matter when you ultimately enter retirement, you will have the resources necessary to support yourself.

Many people are forced into retirement earlier than they expected but an estate planning attorney help you navigate this complex situation can give you further peace of mind as well as the backup plan should something happens to you before you anticipated. Looking ahead to long-term care needs and projecting your retirement income are just a couple of the things you can do to protect your future as well as the value of any assets set aside for your beneficiaries.

It is never easy to consider the prospect of what might happen to your if you were to become incapacitated but having all of your legal documents in line makes things much easier for your loved ones.

 

Growing Retiree Population Expected to Create Investment Return Drag

baby boomers retirement investment

A new study indicates that there’s an even better reason to try to save more for retirement. Research presented by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College identified whether or not a growing retiree population would have an impact on investment returns. The study identified that the growing number of individuals retiring every single day and drawing down their accounts would have a potentially negative impact on the returns of investments in general.

There are shrinking numbers of subsequent generations beyond the baby boomers but the baby boomers make up a significant portion of the population. If the supply of savings increases relative to the demand for that money, the clearing on savings will decrease and investors would receive less income from dividends, interests, and profits for every dollar that they invest.

If the savings supply, however, falls relative to demand, savings can be invested in opportunities that have higher returns. As the demographic in the United States, however, shifts towards an older population mean, the economy needs less money to build new factories, machinery, offices, and roads than it did when the labor force was expanding. Although younger generations will help to increase the demand for and the supply of savings as they prepare for retirement and pay off debt and borrow, retirees will also be drawing down their own accumulated assets during the retirement process. Retirees draw down savings typically at a much slower pace than suggested by previous research. Retirees tend to hold reserves which makes it all the more important to have an experienced estate planning attorney help you determine what will happen to your assets after you pass away.

 

 

 

New Retirement Study Identifies That Half of Retirees Expect to Work Part-Time

A new study conducted by the TransAmerica Study for Retirement Studies identified that up to two-thirds of baby boomers intend to work beyond age 65. Some individuals have no plans to retire at all and at least half of the survey respondents expected to have at least some form of employment during that time. baby boomers retirement

Some of the most common reasons for delaying retirement or deciding to work after their retirement age include employer health benefits and the need for additional income. Significant members of individuals share that they simply enjoyed what they did or wanted to stay involved in their vocation.

One of the most important steps to take for anyone who intends to work after retirement is to focus on staying healthy. Many older individuals can be negatively impacted by a serious health care event but planning ahead for the future and having your legal documents in line gives you peace of mind that someone is able to step in and make decisions on your behalf even if you were to become unable to do so. Setting up a consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney is another step that you can take to gain confidence about your future plans and distribute any additional assets you may have as a result of continuing to work past your retirement age.

Monitoring projected retirement income needs can give you a good perspective on what you’ll need to support yourself as well as what you will be able to leave behind as a legacy for your beneficiaries. It is also important to have a backup plan in the event that you suddenly need to retire earlier for health or additional reasons. Contact an experienced estate planning attorney today to learn more.

Are You Exposing Your Retirement Funds to Long Term Care Cost Devastation?

 

Do you have enough set aside to afford up to $8000 a month in long-term care? Chances are that at some point during your older years, you will need access to it. Advancements in medical technology mean that baby boomers who are just approaching retirement age may expect to live another 30 years or longer.

 

If you are 65 years old today, there is at least a 70% chance that you will need some kind of long term care over the course of your life as shared by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. However, without proper planning put in place and considerations over your individual health care and retirement needs, you could be exposing all of your retirement assets to be quickly eaten up with just one long term care event.

 

Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey identified that a private room at a nursing home has a median cost of just under $8000 per month. An in-home aide cost just less than $4000 per month and those costs are continuing to rise.
Medicaid and Medicare may not fully cover all of the expenses associated with a long-term care event, exposing you to serious problems and worrying that you’ll have to decimate all of your retirement savings. If you have particular assets set aside, you may wish to hand these off to future generations after you pass away, but they could be quickly eaten up if you do not have protection tools in place such as Medicaid considerations with advanced planning or a long-term care insurance policy. Do not hesitate to consult with an experienced New Jersey estate planning lawyer to learn more about how to protect yourself now and in the future.

May Home of National Elder Law Month

Since 1963, the month of May has been a time to focus on issues impacting older individuals. In 2016, this focus is on elder law and how an elder law attorney can help the growing numbers of senior citizens accomplish their estate planning goals. elder law attorney NJ

Elder law attorneys serve a crucial role by helping you or your loved ones plan for the future. This, of course, will encompass estate planning for what happens after you pass away, but it also frequently involves planning for your life, too. This is because a growing number of individuals face the risk of incapacity due to disability or a severe illness.

Given that so many elderly individuals are coping with at least one chronic condition, it is important to think about having the right documentation to allow someone else to make decisions on your behalf and to talk in greater detail about your financial plan for long-term care.

One of the most commonly misunderstood aspects of elder law has to do with Medicaid. Small missteps in your Medicaid planning can cause problems down the line, so it’s a good idea to consult with an experienced New Jersey elder law attorney now to develop goals and plans. In the event that you sustain a serious injury or contract a chronic illness requiring long-term care, knowing your options ahead of time and having a contingency plan can minimize the stress you experience during this time.

You can take the important first step this May by setting up a meeting with an elder law attorney to discuss your future steps. Adult children who have baby boomer parents, too, can work on their own plan and talk about options for Mom and Dad as well. Before heading into the busy summer and vacation season, make sure you can cross this project off your “must do” list. You’ll have peace of mind about your long-term plan by doing so.

 

How to Help An Elderly Loved One Avoid Identity Theft

Unfortunately, identity theft is on the rise and elderly individuals may be most vulnerable to having their accounts hacked. They might not even realize that this has happened until it is far too late. There are several different things you can do to help your elderly loved one avoid identity theft. Use these tips to prevent an unfortunate incident.shutterstock_78312646

  • Do not have your elderly loved one carry their social security card with them. Instead it should be stored in a safe place.
  • Never attach your social security number or a personal identification number to any card that you are carrying, or store this on a piece of paper or receipt that your loved one is carrying.
  • Make sure that your relative has signed all of their credit cards immediately. It is best to use credit cards that only have the new chip technology.
  • Make sure that your elderly loved one always checks his or her receipts to ensure that they received their own as opposed to someone else’s.
  • Shred any documents that have a social security number, account number or pin number located on it.
  • Make sure that you check your elderly loved one’s credit reports on a regular basis so that you can be alerted to fraud as soon as possible.
  • Have your loved one store passwords for all accounts in a safe location.
  • Contact debit card or credit card issuers immediately if you believe that your loved one has been subject to identity theft. Doing this can help to stop the thieves before it goes any further.