Medicare expert and author, Toni King, explains the importance of long-term planning for retirees. What types of legal documents and insurance policies are essential to safeguarding your future?
Recently, I had a bad car wreck and ended up in the hospital with only a minor concussion from hitting the windshield and my wife was not hurt at all. I was surprised when the hospital asked for my medical power of attorney. I am 64 years old and have not even thought about long-term care or end of life planning. Now, with COVID-19, it seems like everything medically, legally, and financially is upside down.
I work for an energy company with an average 401K and have always felt as if I could take care of myself or my wife if a serious health issue occured. I am not sure what I should do financially or insurance-wise. The financial company which handles my 401 K has never discussed these types of issues with me. What do I need to do?
Steve, Tulsa OK
Great question because America is now realizing how fast our lives can change with the coronavirus issues that we are experiencing. Now is the time to begin putting a plan together for future long-term care needs for you and your wife, as well as your family, while one is in good or average health.
Let’s discuss what financial and legal documents you will want to have in place to protect yourself, your spouse, and your family.
Power of Attorney
Power of attorney for you and your spouse is the cornerstone of a financial management plan. It ensures that a person’s wishes will be respected if there comes a time when they are unable to act. It is a written document whereby someone is appointed to manage that person’s financial affairs in the event of illness or incapacity.
Medical Power of Attorney
Medical power of attorney (also known as health care power of attorney) gives someone you trust the legal authority to act on your behalf regarding health care decisions if you ever become incapacitated or unable to communicate.
A living will is a written statement that details the type of care you want (or don’t want) if you become incapacitated. A living will bears no relation to the conventional will or living trust used to leave property at death; it’s strictly a place to spell out your health care preferences or wishes.
Long-Term Care Insurance
Many insurance companies have changed underwriting rules due to COVID-19. Search for a policy while under 65 and in relatively good health. Make sure that the policy covers care at home and facility care. Over 65, long-term care plan underwriting has changed with various long-term care insurance plans available.
Related: Long Term Care Insurance Basics
Hybrid Live and Annuity Policies
Many life/annuity insurance policies have a provision if you need long-term care. Maybe a good option if past 65 with changed to long-term care insurance’s underwriting.
Life insurance for you and your spouse: term, universal, or whole life as coverage if you are losing your life insurance from your employer benefits when you retire. Many only have life insurance with work and cannot qualify due to health issues. Additional life insurance products outside of work may be a good option.
Toni Says: Remember, Christopher Reeves did not think he would fall off a horse. Even Superman can have his life changed in a split second. Always be prepared!
Toni KingContributing Writer
Toni King is an author, columnist, and radio and TV personality who specializes in Medicare, Social Security, and long-term care planning. While conducting a Medicare workshop in 2009, Toni was approached by a member of the audience who had received incorrect information about his Medicare Part B enrollment from Social Security. After taking a couple of days to help the gentleman straighten out his overwhelming problem, Toni’s new mission had become clear. Following more than 27 years as a top sales leader in the Medicare insurance industry, Toni would become an advocate for Americans receiving Medicare. Since then, Toni has devoted her life and career to putting Medicare into “people terms” with the help of her books, consultations, workshops, and website, ToniSays.com. Read more from Toni King.