Estate Planning For Your Long Term Care Needs: How a Financial Advisor Can Help

Volkova Law Group PLLC on June 24, 2014

Do you know how I spend a good deal of my time?

I meet and talk to financial advisors. And not because I have millions of dollars to invest.

I talk to them because we share a common goal: protecting the financial future of our clients.

In addition to having a solid estate plan, it is absolutely essential that you have a financial planner on your advisory team.

You will run into so many blind spots in financial planning if you try to do it yourself. It really does take years of training and experience to be able to advise people correctly on which life insurance policy to buy and which funds to choose.

The people who advise you on how to buy life and disability insurance have insurance brokers licenses from the department of insurance of the state in which they operate. You have to study and pass an exam to get that license. It is illegal to buy insurance from an unlicensed professional.

The people who advise you on which investments to buy also must have license. Some have broker-dealer licenses and some are investment advisors registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Again, it is illegal to buy investment products from unlicensed professionals.

Some financial planners are affiliated with a particular financial institution and generally sell products from that institution only, while others are independent and can “shop around.”

I am explaining this to you so that you understand how important it is to work with a qualified professional when creating your financial plan.

To demonstrate, here is an example of how we work with financial advisors to optimize an estate plan.

(Because of our duty of confidentiality to our existing and former clients, we are using fictional characters.)

Mrs. A is in her 60’s and her combined assets are slightly over two million dollars. Her major concern is she wants to make sure she has sufficient funds to cover her long term care needs. She has a family history of dementia and therefore is aware that she may live well into her 80’s with this illness. She has one adult child who lives far away and would not be in a position to be her caretaker.

Mrs. A had actually done some prudent planning and had purchased long term care insurance. However, she was concerned that even with this insurance, she may still need to pay out of pocket for home care.

We reviewed Mrs. A’s long term care insurance together with a couple of our financial advisor colleagues and advised Mrs. A on the specific terms of her insurance and the benefit amount.

Now, Mrs. A knows exactly how much coverage she has and how to plan to meet her additional needs. We also discussed the possibility that she may have to consider planning for assistance from Medicaid if her health deteriorates.

Could she have figured this out on her own?

it is very unlikely.

Insurance policies are often written in a strange, short hand way that only people in the industry seem to understand. Some of the provisions even befuddle us – and we are trained to read legalese.

This is just one example of why I picked up the phone to talk to a financial advisor. And I have done this so many times for my clients. (No, we receive absolutely no compensation for saying that.)

We do this because our role is not limited only to the documents that we draft for you.

Our goal is to provide holistic legal solutions for our clients, and to do that we need to coordinate with their financial advisors.

If you are interested in comprehensive estate planning and have questions about how insurance and retirement benefits fit within your estate, please email us at elena@volkovalaw.com.

We look forward to working with you.

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