My wife and I had to deal with the loss of both her parents recently. We were fortunate that her parents had their estate fairly well organized. But after going through all of the issues that needed addressing – proper care for her mother during her final years, selling their home, disposing of property, dealing with the lawyers and CPAs, etc.; I was reminded of some basic tenets we often talk about in the insurance business, basic principles we need to apply to our clients and to our own families!
Get long term care coverage
Several years ago my in-laws sold their home and moved into a retirement apartment which offered basic levels of care. After my mother in-law’s Alzheimer’s progressed, she had to move into a specialized facility. Between the two facilities, the cost was nearly $12,000 a month! I knew my father-in-law was fretful about running out of money; he had no long term care coverage.
Most consumers do not have stand-alone long term care insurance coverage; traditionally it has been very expensive and offered little choice of carriers. Fortunately, today most life insurance, and some annuity products, offer accelerated benefits to help cover long term care costs. If you have not looked into this, look into it now. Most older clients are more worried about living too long than dying young. We can help them cover both scenarios with the same product.
Have wills including medical directives
It is very important that everyone’s wishes are known for handling the estate and their care. It is an uncomfortable discussion, but one which should not be avoided. Not having a directive done makes a stressful time much worse. Encourage your clients to have the conversation with their families so they know what their loved ones’ last wishes are, and have it formally documented.
Check beneficiary designations
Regarding my in-laws’ coverage, one policy belonging to my father-in-law only listed his then-deceased spouse as beneficiary; there were no contingent beneficiaries. Consequently, the money had to be paid into the estate instead of to beneficiaries.
Be as prepared as possible
If you become the executor or trustee of a family member’s estate, learn where important papers such as bank statements, wills, insurance policies, bills etc. are kept. The more you know up front, the less stress when you have to step in.
These are highlights of the myriad of tasks that must be addressed when we lose a parent. And it reminds us of the importance of insurance in our plans. Long-term care coverage provides funds for elder care, while life insurance ensures proceeds for final expenses and creating a legacy for beneficiaries will be available. We here at Davis Life and Annuity have been helping agents protect their clients for over 35 years. Please call us at 800-747-5612 and we can help prepare for the future.