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Making the Move to a New Home in Retirement

HouseThe recent article at capecod.com, “5 Tips for Seniors Planning a Move: Think ‘Resizing’ Not ‘Downsizing,’” explains that elder law attorneys are sensitive to the special needs of older clients and their families and that there’s no substitute for experience.
If your loved one is aging, you should seek help from an experienced attorney and implement the following advice to best support your loved ones.
First, it’s important to emphasize that these folks are “resizing,” not downsizing. Moving to a new home is the start of the next chapter in their lives—rather than the end.
Accentuate the positive and get them to think about what they’re gaining rather than losing.
Keep in mind that the seniors, as well as their families, are under tremendous stress. Staying calm and being organized is a big source of support. When you help your loved ones “resize” to a smaller space, start early and allow them the time to go through their things to decide what belongings they want and which ones they need. Possessions in the “need” category take priority over those they want.
It’s nice to get a floor plan of the new home to help determine what furniture they’ll be able to take with them.
Also, by thinking ahead about what to do with the possessions they’ll need to part with, your loved ones might find a worthy charity that would receive their donations. To help with the transition to their new life, encourage them to consider it giving and not losing their possessions.
Reference: capecod.com (July 7, 2016) “5 Tips for Seniors Planning a Move: Think ‘Resizing’ Not ‘Downsizing’”

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Helping your Parents Downsize

Bigstock-Downsize-70763308 “People are not relying on the way things used to be.”

Theauthor of aChicago Tribune article titled “Don't want to burden your children? Plan now,” wrote that his parents, who are in their early 60s, moved from their old five-bedroom home to a two-bedroom house. In addition to being way too big, the old house had problems and needed maintenance and repairs. The new place is newly renovated with all new mechanicals and a smaller yard. Plus, it's in a more walkable neighborhood with friends and family nearby.

Downsizing is emotionally and logistically difficult. It is wise to do so while you are young, healthy retirees. In more traditional times, older folks would be cared for until the end of their lives by children and extended family. However, times have changed.

Part of this changing perspective is from "the triple-decker sandwich," where baby boomers are facing retirement themselves and have to also care for their elderly parents—plus manage relationships with their own children.

The number of Americans needing long-term care is expected to double in the next 30 years, and a recent study of Medicare patients found that out-of-pocket costs at the end of life were highest for patients with dementia. These people require help with daily living, often for years—most of whom aren’t covered by public programs.

Here are some ideas on how to address this issue:

Downsizing. If you're in a large, expensive home in a car-dependent neighborhood, downsizing now lets you limit expenses while maintaining independence longer. Proximity to family and friends is also very important. Even though 89% of respondents in the survey said they'd wanted to stay in their current home, they still found the option of a smaller home to be much more preferable to a nursing home or assisted living.

Invest in long-term care insurance. If you want to be cared for in your home, find an insurance policy that covers that type of care as part of your retirement planning. The younger and healthier you are, the cheaper these policies are going to be.

Talk to an estate planning attorney, preferably all together. An experienced elder law or estate planning attorney can sit down with the whole family. They should have expertise in intergenerational wealth transfer, inheritance, and estate planning.

For more information about estate planning, please visit my estate planning website.

Reference: The Chicago Tribune (November 14, 2015) “Don't want to burden your children? Plan now”

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Tips on Conducting a Stress-Free Estate Sale

Bigstock-Stress-Free-Zone-Green-Road-Si-7150032“Choosing a trusted estate sales professional should not be taken lightly.”

Estate sales come at a time when families are at a crossroads resulting from one of the dreaded three D’s: death, divorce, and downsizing. For many, the task of organizing items acquired over a lifetime can be overwhelming, especially when coupled with having to determine each item’s value. It’s a task that can take novices not weeks but months, which is why many people enlist the help of professional estate sale planners.

The Casper Journal’s recent article, “Professionals can ease burden of planning estate sale,” provides some good advice on the subject.

Selecting a reputable estate sales professional is important. These are your possessions, and many of them are valuable.

When finding an estate sales person, ask your family, friends, and business professionals for recommendations. Your estate planning attorney may have some very good references.

Next, look into their business histories and customer reviews at the Better Business Bureau’s website, and conduct a search online to see what type of articles or reviews of their services have been posted.

You should then choose a few and interview these professionals in person before deciding on the company you want to engage. Ask them about their credentials, certifications, and education in the area of estate sales. Also, make sure that they are insured and bonded.

Ask for the names of three or four references. Contact them to find out about their experiences working with the company and whether or not they would hire them again.

Before signing the contract, make sure you understand it, and consider asking your attorney to review it for you. Just so there are no surprises, you’ll want to find out the following from the estate sales business you plan to use:

  • Does the company charge a flat fee or commission?
  • What is their commission and are there additional fees?
  • What services are included?
  • What do you need to prepare for the sale?
  • Is there an extra charge to clean before and after the sale?
  • How much time will they need to get the estate ready for the sale?
  • How are sales recorded?
  • Can the family attend?
  • How are discounts or negotiations handled?
  • What do they do with stuff that doesn’t sell?

Ask these questions well in advance so you’re totally prepared when the time comes to have an estate sale.

For more information about estate planning, please visit my estate planning website.

Reference: The Casper Journal (November 11, 2015) “Professionals can ease burden of planning estate sale

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