It’s impossible to create a sound financial plan without taking your clients’ health into consideration. That’s because medical care is one of the most significant expenses they’ll need to plan for in retirement, particularly when in-home care or a nursing facility is part of the equation, which it frequently is. To mitigate the risk of having more medical care expenses than your client can afford, you’ve likely introduced the idea of investing in a Long-Term Care product solution.
But have you talked about long-term care planning? There’s a lot more preparation involved in planning for your clients’ day-to-day life down the road than simply buying a Long-Term Care product. This AARP Prepare to Care guide goes through each step of the process from the perspective of an adult child preparing to care for an aging parent. It offers a wealth of information, including worksheets designed to help families get started.
The intention of this guide is spot on. But in 2020, we need more than a worksheet. We need a tool that helps us organize and store every piece of information related to our legacy plan, a place we can access from anywhere at any time and that makes available everything our caretakers need to care for us when the time is right. We also need to take responsibility for our own future instead of passing the burden off to our loved ones.
Thus, I’m adapting this guide to do two things:
- Shift the perspective to creating a long-term care planning guide for oneself versus an aging parent.
- Support a digital approach to legacy planning.
If you looked through the guide, you’ll notice I’m using the same steps AARP recommends. I’ve simply reordered them so that you can help your clients create digital long-term care plans for themselves.
Your Long-Term Care Playbook
1. Take action
This is the part that will take the longest. In this step, your client will gather all financial assets – bank and brokerage accounts, 401(k)s, Health Savings Accounts, life insurance policies, etc. – everything your client possesses that represents some form of money or equity. This is also when they’ll capture their personal legacy information. That’s family history, traditions, and values as well as memories. Once this list has been made, along with information about how to access each asset, you’ll suggest storing it on a secure platform, like LegacyShield, to keep everything organized and safe. The benefit of keeping their financial roadmap in a cloud-based account is that they can access it anytime, anywhere.
2. Assess your needs
Once your clients’ financial lives are fairly well etched out, you’ll be able to note any gaps in coverage or missing documents. Perhaps a Long-Term Care policy or an Advance Health Care Directive would make the plan more complete. Keep in mind, a LegacyShield account offers a basic estate plan, which includes these essential documents. Think about what needs your clients will have as they age, and help them prepare for those.
3. Make a plan
At this step, your clients will put their wishes in writing. What’s important to them? Maybe it’s continuing to live in the house or having enough money to travel. What kind of care do they want to receive? Would they prefer a caretaker in the home or a retirement community? This is also where your clients will decide how to disburse assets and belongings. If a will has already been created, that too will be housed in the LegacyShield account.
4. Form your team
The health care proxy, power of attorney, and executor that your clients designated in the last will and testament will need access to this account. Your clients decide who to add and at what point in time they’ll be granted access. They will also want to add people like an attorney, accountant and you as well as certain family members like a spouse or children. Keep in mind, your clients decide what each person has access to. For instance, an attorney and accountant wouldn’t need to view the personal aspects of the legacy, and a health care proxy wouldn’t need to see where the 401(k) account is held. This access limitation is particularly attractive to clients who are more private.
5. Prepare to talk
Now that everything is set up, it’s time to have the conversation. Encourage your clients to start with immediate family and have the talk face-to-face. They’ll want to share their wishes, explain how the account works, and certainly discuss any roles family members will play. This might be the first time the son, for instance, is finding out that he’ll be Dad’s executor. Next, they’ll want to talk through this with their professional team so that everyone is aligned and prepared to step in when the time is right.
If you encourage your clients to thoughtfully organize the information their families will need to not only access their Long-Term Care policy but also get their hands on documents like an Advance Health Care Directive, their loved ones will be set up to handle whatever may come. By taking this approach, the onus is no longer on the next generation to start the conversation and create the plan. It’s all right there, in one place. A LegacyShield account offers them peace of mind as well as privacy.