The phrase ‘getting your affairs in order’ is often used to describe the administrative tasks a person needs to do at the end of their life. Whether you or a loved one have been diagnosed with a terminal illness or you are simply looking ahead to future possibilities, it is a good idea to have a plan in mind.
Long-term care insurance can help cover the costs of some illnesses, but it is not a blanket solution. If you are already older, you might not be eligible. Furthermore, it might not cover every condition or may not cover the condition comprehensively enough. If you are young and thinking about your future, long-term care insurance may be part of that planning, but be sure to read the fine print carefully.
If the need to make financial plans for end-of-life care is more immediate, you may want to look at other options. One possibility for people who have insurance is a viatical settlement. This is generally for individuals with a life expectancy under two years, and it allow them to sell their life insurance policy. You can usually get more with a viatical settlement than a life settlement, which is for people with a longer life expectancy.
There might come a point where you are no longer capable of making financial decisions. This could mean that your family goes through a long, costly and emotionally exhausting court process to determine who will be in charge of these decisions on your behalf. A better solution is to plan for it. Some people do this by creating a trust and appointing a trustee to manage their assets if they cannot.
Another way is with powers of attorney although it is important to make sure that various financial institutions accept these. Yet another possibility is to add a family member to various accounts. The best solution will vary according to your family situation. For example, a potential drawback of having a joint account is that if one person on the account has bad credit, it can reflect negatively on the other person.
At minimum, most people need a will that says what they want to happen to their assets. However, if you want to keep your estate plan private, if you want to control how your heirs receive their inheritance, if you might owe estate tax or if there are other complications with your assets, you might want one or more trusts. Trusts can also do things like help you donate to charity while also providing income for family members. You can talk to an attorney about the best way to structure your estate plan for your situation.
This is a type of planning that is specific for business owners, and it involves both financial and personnel decisions. You need to think about what you want to happen to the business and if you want it sold and the proceeds distributed to family or if you want them to continue to make money off it. If the latter, who will run it? Will it be a family member or someone else?
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