DON’T DELAY – AVOID DIFFICULT DECISIONS LATER
‘Later life’ might still seem a way off but at Otus Live-In Care we advocate getting your house in order for old age as early as possible. It’s true, for most of us, being, feeling or acting old is much further off than it was for our grandparents. Our healthier lifestyles and the constant improvements in medical diagnosis mean that we can all hope to live longer and be active right into our 80’s.
The flip side of this positive effect is that we have a longer time period to cater for after retirement and given the economies, there is every likelihood that we have less chance of building up a sizeable private pension. Savings are not attracting very healthy interest and the potential in future for a reduced or no state pension at all means that whatever retirement sum you have managed to accumulate will have to stretch further. There is also a good chance that you might even need to finance your own care – in a residential setting, or with the help of a live-in carer in the comfort of your own home – all these factors mean that future planning is essential if you want to make the most of your later years. No matter what your circumstances, there are three simple steps everyone should consider to help start later life planning.
Make a will – having a will or a ‘trust’ is a good idea at any age. Some people assume that everything they have will be left to their spouse if they die intestate. But, having to put the wheels in motion for making this happen while grieving for a loved one is the kind of stress that no one should have to endure. That’s why it’s a good idea to have your affairs sorted out now, to help minimise the complications and upheaval for your relatives. You should also consider the fact that should you become incapacitated before you die, your family could be left without access to your finances and unable to pay for your care. Nominate someone you’d be happy to act for you should you become unable to look after your own financial affairs. This is called a lasting Power of Attorney – there are two types, one for property and financial matters, and another for health and welfare – ideally you should ensure both are in place.
Have a financial plan – none of us know how long we will live or what sort of care we might need in later life. How could you know? If you need long term care when you are older, there’s a very high likelihood that you will have to contribute to funding it. Get your money organised. Work out how much you might need in old age and put a plan in place for saving enough to cover you. Get your savings organised so that it’s easy for someone else to work out how to access them, should the need arise.
Seek advice – don’t bury your head in the sand. The older we get, the harder it becomes to have these vital conversations about what will happen when we are no longer able to look after own affairs or health. You will find it much easier to get advice and talk about what could happen in the future while you are still healthy and in a positive state of mind. No doubt your family will find it easier if you discuss your wishes with them now too. As hard as it may be, try to communicate what would be the steps you’d want them to take for the various different scenarios.
For more bespoke advice, you could work with an independent financial adviser (IFA). Looking for a financial adviser can be tricky without a personal recommendation. The Society for Later Life Planning (SOLLA) is a not-for-profit organisation and has an online portal of advisers who have fully satisfied all the criteria required to become an accredited adviser about products and services which can help you get financially organised for old age. At Otus, we have been awarded Affiliate Membership of SOLLA, based on the later life care help and advice we are able to offer people. Additionally, a similar organisation – the Society of Trust and Estate Practioners (STEP) offers a similar service – its members can offer tax, legal and financial advice across generations. So whether you are doing some early later life planning, or have a need to consider live-in care for a loved one, we are always happy to offer ‘no-obligation’ advice. Call the Otus Live-in Care team on 01403 710119.