Pam and Adam were both in their early 60′s, had been married for 15 years, and had recently relocated. This was a second marriage for both and Adam had children from his first marriage. They had built—and sold—a successful business together and had amassed a very respectable nest egg for their retirement. Their prospects for a great retirement were, well, golden. They had an array of pleasing choices and were looking forward to many years enjoying the fruits of their hard work. And then Adam was diagnosed with a fairly aggressive case of Alzheimer’s.
In a recent Forbes article titled "Staring Down The Barrel Of A Gun: When Alzheimer's Strikes," the couple featured in the article did save a solid amount of assets for retirement, but they didn’t consider the need for long-term care and how it would impact their wealth.
Pam was worried about her financial assets and whether they were properly managed; this became her goal, despite all of the issues with her husband's diagnosis.
The most important first step was to call an elder care attorney who specializes in setting up a framework to protect her from what was potentially a financial nightmare. An elder care attorney is engaged to protect your assets using legal strategies that are available when an individual needs long-term care or has special needs.
In this story, without the help of an elder care attorney, the wife would be without the funds necessary to care for her husband.
These types of stories are common and tragic—blended families have numerous challenges and those should be discussed while everyone is still healthy and able to make decisions. That means you need to consider both estate and elder planning.
Estate planning allows a person to specify his or her wishes for how their assets are to be distributed after their death. Elder planning deals with protecting assets while you’re still living and possibly unable to make sound decisions.
Reference: Forbes (April 1, 2014) "Staring Down The Barrel Of A Gun: When Alzheimer's Strikes"