Livens & Reed, PLLC

Be proactive about long-term care and estate planning decisions

Americans who are close to retirement age say they do not know how much money they will need to live a comfortable life after they stop working. Only 16 percent say they are confident that they have saved enough to sustain them during their golden years. For those turning 65, there is a significant chance that long\-term care will be a factor in their future. In Texas and across the country, long-term care costs exceeded $225 billion in 2015.

The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators says that $7.7 billion in retirement savings were left in orphan accounts in 2015. When leaving one job for another, make sure there is no money left behind in a 401(k) account. Consider alternative options such as rolling investment money into a current employer's plan or opening an IRA account. To avoid penalties for not reinvesting within 60 days, make sure that money from an old account is invested directly into a new 401(k) or IRA accounts.

Almost 60 percent of Americans have no estate plan in place. By drafting and executing a comprehensive estate plan, decisions about money, assets and the care of a spouse or children will be taken care of. It may be advisable to have a living will to determine what will happen in the event of a medical emergency, and it's also important to address the potential need for long-term care. In Texas, an attorney can determine if restructuring ownership of assets is possible to qualify for Medicaid benefits to cover nursing home costs.

After a lifetime of hard work, retirement should be something to look forward to. This time should not be overshadowed by financial worries or the fear of not having finances available if long-term care is needed. Taking steps now to prepare an estate plan will hopefully allow for the many happy golden years ahead.

Source:, "10 Financial Decisions Americans Keep Putting Off", Christy Bieber, May 7, 2018

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