Finances For End Of Life

Thinking about finances at the end of life might feel like the last thing you want  to do. However, working through it with your care recipient now can help  prevent confusion, stress, and family conflict in the future. Here are 5 financial considerations for end of life.

Writing on paper

1. Create An Estate Plan

This helps clarify the distribution of money and assets after death. An estate plan can include legal documents like wills, trusts, power of attorney, and advance directives. Help your care recipient make an estate plan that clearly shows who their assets will go to. Without one, it may take a lot of time and money to distribute assets. Consider working with a financial advisor and lawyer to help. 

2. Create A Will & Living Trust

Wills and living trusts are legal documents that say who will receive your care  recipient’s assets.

  •  More simple and affordable 
  • Assets assigned after passing
  • Assets will take longer to transfer
  • Easy to change 
  • Assigns who will take care of the children
  • More complicated and expensive
  • Enforced while alive or after passing
  • Assets transfer to heirs right away
  • Hard to change
  • Does not assign who will take care of the children

This can be a confusing process but talking to a financial advisor or lawyer will help determine what would be best. 

Consider This

Did you know you can create a trust for a pet? If your care recipient is worried about what will happen to their pet, they can set aside money to go towards this! 

3. Make Information Easy To Access

Your care recipient may not be able to manage their finances in the future. A bit of planning now can make a big difference later. Work with them to locate important  financial documents and information. Agree to put them in one place or at least  know where they are. These can include: 

  • Bank account information 
  • Mortgages 
  • Debts 
  • Car titles and registration 
  • Insurance information 
  • Investments (stocks, property) 
  • Beneficiary designations 
  • Personal records like social security numbers, birth certificates, and marriage certificates 
  • Passwords for online banking and other important accounts

Expert Tip

Be sure to also discuss important details for each document. For example, ask how and when mortgage bills are paid. Go through the routine and schedule of each bill payment together.

4. Figure Out End Of Life Housing Costs

If your care recipient’s health declines, you may be in a situation where you need  help caring for them. Talk to them about financial resources and what services  they’re comfortable paying for. Talk about the cost of home care and assisted living  facilities in your area. This can include looking into local retirement homes, long term care homes, and hospices. 

Expert Tip

Ask your care recipient’s primary healthcare provider for more information and what public resources are available. 

5. Plan For Their Legacy

Ask about their wishes for services and determine costs. There can be different  payment models for paying for a funeral, like pre-planning and pre-paying for  it. Other things to consider include the cost of cremation, burials, or burial  alternatives. Social workers can often provide information about these options.

Getting Financial Support

Costs can pile up at the end of life, especially if your care recipient needs more  help. Some caregivers choose to take time off work to provide care. Explore these options for financial support:  

  • Find out sources of income. Where does your care recipient get their money  from? Do they have investments, pensions, or savings? These can help decide  what can be afforded.  
  • Check insurance policies. Check your care recipient’s policy, life insurance, long term care insurance, etc. Many plans provide some coverage for hospice care.  You may be able to get some care or services covered.  
  • Look to government support. Medicare and Medicaid can cover some home  health services, medication, and hospice services. Contact your local Medicare  office to discuss specific coverage for your care recipient.  
  • Talk to a financial advisor. These professionals can help with creating a budget  and advising on ways to save money. Contact your care recipient’s bank, credit  union, insurance company, or independent consultants to find a registered and  credible advisor.

Additional Resources

  • Caregiver Hands

    Where To Look For Support

  • Link

    Dementia Companion Cards

  • Elderly woman on cell phone

    Frauds & Scams: Online & Phone

  • Two people and a dog riding in a car

    Quick Explanation of Power of Attorney (POA)