senior couple working on their finances at home

To many, the concept of the future seems scary. Most of us live in the present and might not even know what we’re having for breakfast tomorrow. While it’s easy to only look at the not-so-distant future, it’s incredibly important to plan for your long-term needs. It’s never too early to be prepared.

Here are three key ways to make sure your family isn’t left not knowing your wishes in the event of a tragedy or unexpected setback.

  1. Create an estate plan. Estate planning is creating a plan for how your estate will be managed and who will manage it throughout your life and after death. When planning where your belongings will go, it’s also important to consider the other implications that it will pose to the beneficiaries, such as tax and legal effects. Federal and state taxes on estates can be some of the highest. It may seem unnecessary to a college student, but experts encourage young adults in their 20s to start estate planning. It’s always helpful in the event of a tragedy and only requires a few important legal documents.
  2. Designate a power of attorney. Everyone should also have a designated power of attorney. POAs are commonly selected when someone gets to retirement age, however you may select a POA anytime after your 18th birthday. Special circumstances may prompt the need for a POA earlier in life. This person has the power to act on your behalf if you are ever deemed incapable. It should be someone you trust, who knows you well and who would be comfortable making very difficult decisions. Always ask your desired power of attorney if they are okay with the responsibility before you officially designate them as POA.
  3. Consider long-term care insurance. Unlike traditional health insurance, long-term care insurance is designed to help you in the event of a long-term service need. These policies reimburse the policyholder for daily needs such as food, bathing, etc. The cost associated with the policy varies based on a variety of factors, but it is recommended that you apply for long-term care insurance in your 50s. At this age, your health is generally pretty good and you’re able to add coverage down the road if you need it. Learn more about supplemental insurance options to consider here.

For all of these decisions, it is recommended that you consult with a trusted professional advisor to make sure you are choosing the best option for you. They can also offer legal advice in the event of uncertainty.

Long-term planning may seem like a major undertaking, but you can set smaller tasks and goals to accomplish all the planning you need. Breaking it up will help to make it more manageable.

Conversations such as these can be hard, but they are necessary and can save you and your loved ones from confusion down the road.

This article was originally published on www.ahealthiermichigan.org, a website sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.  Blue Cross and MADA are your trusted partners in building a healthier business and workforce.

Photo credit: PeopleImages