Discussing worst-case health care scenarios with family is never easy. Talking about how you will pay for your future health needs is just one of several critical conversations related to health and wealth that family members should be having. For many, it is the missing piece of the retirement puzzle. Yet as important as these conversations are, the vast majority of people are not having them.
Here are four questions that can help you start having these important family conversations. Sit down with your spouse, your children, your parents and your siblings. Talk about your expectations. Make plans together. Then, should one of you become ill, you can all concentrate on one another instead of worrying about the finances and whether you are doing the right thing for everyone concerned.
- Where will the money come from?
It is never too early to talk about the potential costs and other consequences of medical care for yourself, your children or your parents. The considerations should include possible outlays for such expenses as home health care or changes to your house to accommodate a disability. Long-term-care insurance may be an appropriate choice in some cases but it is not right for everyone. There are a number of other financial choices you can consider, from hybrid forms of life insurance and Health Savings Accounts to simply saving and investing more for eventual medical costs.
- Will our parents have the care they need as they grow older?
In addition to considering their own future, many people struggle with aging parents’ unwillingness to face their limitations. The best response is to ask specific questions: At what point would it make sense for you to stop driving, or to have a caretaker come in to help with meals?
- Who will provide the caregiving, if it is needed?
Taking care of aging parents — or paying for their care — can be a large responsibility, and yet it is a responsibility that often falls unevenly in families. Siblings should talk first among themselves about how they will share the caregiving role. Sometimes it makes sense to cobble together a combination of in-home and outside care. That way, siblings can at least share the costs, if not the hands-on responsibilities.
- What about end-of-life issues?
Having this conversation can help ensure that a loved one’s (or your own) wishes will be honored. Among the things to consider: Which medical treatments do you want to be used or avoided at the end of your life? Whom do you want to be your health-care proxy if you are unable to communicate your wishes? You can use a health-care power of attorney and a living will to document your choices.
Once you have discussed these tough subjects with your family, it is important to keep talking as years go by and circumstances change. Having these important conversations is the first step to getting there.
For more information, contact The Menashe Morley Group in the Rancho Santa Fe office 858-381-8113. The Menashe Morley Group, serving the community for over 34 years: David Menashe is a Senior Vice President and Wealth Management Advisor, Bruce Morley CRPC ® is a First Vice President and Wealth Management Advisor and John Naviaux CPWA ® is a Vice President and Wealth Management Advisor. Long-term care insurance coverage contains benefits, exclusions, limitations, eligibility requirements and specific terms and conditions under which the insurance coverage may be continued in force or discontinued. Not all insurance policies and types of coverage may be available in your state. Neither Merrill Lynch nor any of its affiliates or financial advisors provide legal, tax, accounting or benefits consulting advice. You should consult your legal and/or tax advisors before making any financial decisions. This material should be regarded as general information on health care considerations and is not intended to provide specific health care advice. If you have questions regarding your particular health care situation, please contact your health care, legal or tax advisor. Merrill Lynch makes available products and services offered by Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (MLPF&S) and other subsidiaries of Bank of America Corporation. Investment products offered through MLPF&S and insurance and annuity products offered through MLLA: Are Not FDIC Insured, Are Not Bank Guaranteed, and May Lose Value. MLPF&S is a registered broker-dealer, Member SIPC and a wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation. © 2016 Bank of America Corporation. All rights reserved. AR3PVHNT