November 29, 2017

Aging and Your Wealth

Difficult discussions worth having now

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Many families delay difficult discussions until a health crisis hits. But with life expectancy on the rise and the cost of long-term care steadily increasing, the time to start the conversation may be now.  Don’t know where to start when it comes to planning for the financial future of yourself and your loved ones?

Start the Conversation: Many people fully embrace the planning process but do so privately. Talking about your wishes for health care and your estate can be challenging, and in some families, discussing issues involving mortality is taboo. The reality is by 2030, when the last of the baby boomers has turned 65, one in every five Americans—or about 72 million people—will be an older adult.

Create a Plan: You can take specific steps to help ensure your health and financial wishes are carried out following your incapacity or death by naming an individual or institution as your fiduciary. A fiduciary has a legal obligation to carry out certain tasks on your behalf.

Assess Your Assets: Identify your assets and understand how each is titled. The type of asset and how you hold title to that asset matters. Assets held in your name or in the name of your revocable trust will be distributed under the terms of your will or revocable trust. If these documents are not in place, distribution decisions will be made pursuant to state law.

Consider the Challenges of Caretaking: While few people anticipate needing long-term care, the reality is 70% of those turning 65 will need some form of long-term care during their lifetime. As life expectancy increases, so do the chances of health complications—both expected and unexpected—that will call for professional care.

Prepare for the Unexpected: Unforeseen incidents can leave family members scrambling for answers and suddenly facing a new set of responsibilities, especially where the deceased or incapacitated person was the family’s primary breadwinner or financial manager.

Ultimately, defining your wishes isn’t just about what’s at stake for your family after your passing. Often, it’s about helping you and your loved ones gain clarity and direction for the future and, in doing so, enable you to better enjoy your life.

Read the full Merrill Lynch white paper with tips and action checklists by clicking the button above.