In 2014 my father was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia. My family started seeing symptoms as early as 2012, and he lived with the disease until he passed in 2017. We faced a lot of challenges managing his care as the disease progressed. However, in addition to attending to my father’s health issues, we learned about important financial implications for both his care and our family’s future.
Drawing on my personal experience and my work as a financial planner, here are a few things to consider from a financial perspective with a loved one who is cognitively impaired:
Get Organized – Does your loved one have checking, savings or investment accounts at several institutions? Look for opportunities to consolidate these accounts. If they still have paper savings bonds or stock certificates, register them electronically. If they have insurance policies that may be able to help pay for care, request third party authorization where appropriate. It’s also important to make sure all accounts are properly titled with correct beneficiaries. In order to gain authorization to act on a loved ones behalf to help manage these financial matters, a power of attorney form is generally needed.
Is there an investment plan or a collection of investments? -Once the accounts are consolidated, you can see if and how they are being invested. Are your loved one’s investments in line with their needs? Make sure they are assuming the appropriate amount of risk for their current situation.
How are you going to pay for care? Besides long-term care insurance, there are other options to subsidize the cost of care. Look into Medicaid, VA Benefits, and certain catastrophic insurance policies if eligible. Even if you meet requirements, the paperwork can be overwhelming, and it is better to be prepared.
It takes a village… Assemble a team of professionals to use as resources, when needed. A financial planner can act as the quarterback for your family and work with you and the other professionals that you entrusted. They may include an accountant, estate attorney, a geriatric social worker or elder care consultant.
Caring for a loved one with a cognitive disorder can be stressful, and knowing the issues to consider and turning to professionals who can help can ease the burden.
Paul Tramontozzi is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional with Lob Planning Group in Purchase, NY. To learn more about Paul, visit www.paultramontozzi.com.
Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA / SIPC. Investment advice offered through Stratos Wealth Partners, Ltd., a registered investment advisor. Lob Planning Group and Stratos Wealth Partners are separate entities from LPL Financial.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly.
Lob Planning Group, Stratos Wealth Partners and LPL Financial do not provide legal advice or services. Please consult your legal advisor regarding your specific situation.
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