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What are your plans for when you're unable to make sound decisions?
Old 08-29-2008, 04:51 PM   #1
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What are your plans for when you're unable to make sound decisions?

This may be a rude/unpleasant topic, but I'd like to know what people's plans are for when they are too old/ill to make sound financial and health decisions. No matter how much money you have, there will come a point when you will not be able to invest money wisely (or even keeping up changes in the financial industry for the next few decades), or making the right decision on lifestyle (nursing home, assisted living, hired hourly help, etc.).

It seems like a lot of people depend on their children or grandchildren. However, there are also plenty of cases where children/grandchildren are not reliable or responsible guardians. (Of course there are more examples where they are.)

What about those without children? By the time we are too old, our friends would be too old, too, to help us with decisions. Will you be able to or forced to trust hired professionals (lawyers, financial planners)?

This is just for personal planning purposes. For us, I am not sure what we'll do at all. I know life is unpredicable and we can't control everything, but it seems that we should at least have a plan. Any comment is welcome.
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Old 08-29-2008, 07:46 PM   #2
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What are your plans for when you're unable to make sound decisions?
Isn't that oxymoronic?

Or are we assuming that we make good decisions during our planning?

Other than a durable power of attorney and a medical directive, there's not much planning. I'm hoping that I'm either sentient & active enough to know how to invest & spend my money, or I'm hoping I've become so inactive that my pension cashflow fills all my needs. Or maybe we'll give it all to a huge charitable remainder trust and live off that income.

Otherwise I'm going to just have to keep finding successor possessors of my durable power of attorney-- spouse, daughter, and "?"...

I should point out that we're having a hard enough time planning for when our parents are unable to make sound decisions. So far our planning mostly consists of telling our siblings that we'll support their decisions and send them our half of the money.
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Old 08-29-2008, 07:46 PM   #3
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I'll just keep on making poor investment choices like I do now. Seriously though, I have a very conservative and trusting nephew I will bring into the picture at some point.
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Old 08-29-2008, 07:53 PM   #4
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Old 08-29-2008, 07:57 PM   #5
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This is a big concern of mine. I don't really know. I am hoping to be in place in a continuous care facility, with my investments placed so that I don't have to touch them and my bills paid automatically. Maybe I will have a doctor that I can entrust with medical decisions. It is a tough problem and hopefully sometime in the next 30 years or so I will have figured it out.
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Old 08-29-2008, 08:29 PM   #6
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I'm planning on living healthily and with full mental acuity until I'm 95, then falling asleep one night and dying painlessly with a smile on my face, dreaming a happy dream. Probably the one about those two girls back in college...

If for some reason this plan doesn't pan out, I'm hoping whoever has my health power of attorney puts me in a place where I don't get bedsores. My investment plans, all written out and in the hands of a trusted person (great-granddaughter?) will keep paying for baby food and diapers.

No worries.
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Old 08-29-2008, 09:32 PM   #7
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for now i'd trust my welfare to my brother & sil but as you note they'll be aging alongside me. (they both did a great job helping me with mom.) i've had similar discussion with some friends and family and one option is to live communally, looking after each other's well being. i guess the last one left takes the cyanide. otherwise, i'll have to see how my niece/nephews develop as they age.

haven't looked into this yet but seems there must be some sort of trust you can set up for yourself (which comes into play upon incapacity) so that you can pre-direct future financial decisions, like a relatively safe indexed fund with maximum yearly withdrawals which can only be spent in particular ways so that an unknown guardian might not be able to take advantage of the situation.

some states, like florida, have annual reviews of past year's budgets & upcoming year's living plan for anyone under guardianship, as well, the state physically inspects living situations of wards. also, the state requires that the ward's assets are invested conservatively.

Statewide Public Guardianship Office

from florida's guardianship handbook found here
http://elderaffairs.state.fl.us/engl...shipBasics.pdf

Quote:
Annual Accounting:
A report, filed by the guardian of the property, due to the court each year itemizing expenditures and receipts made on behalf of the ward during the previous year.

Annual Plan:
A report, filed by the guardian of the person, due to the court each year specifying the medical, mental and physical care of the ward for the upcoming year.
the state guardianship works in conjunction with a private institute to protect funds. one such program is wachovia's guardian angels. outside of a liquid account based upon an annual budget, all other withdrawals require court review.

for me, i don't plan to live in an incapacitated state (other than my usual). i'd take steps to avoid that. but i realize that one quick stroke or a car accident, or a later change of thinking could ruin that plan.

ps. this looks interesting: http://www.eldercareconnect.org/index.asp

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Old 08-30-2008, 12:40 AM   #8
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No plan. Probably lose everything and go down the tubes in a horrible degrading way. Unless I have the courage to end it myself.
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Old 08-30-2008, 06:27 PM   #9
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My DW and I have medical and financial POA's to each other and the kids via trust documents. Isn't that sufficient?
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Old 08-31-2008, 02:20 AM   #10
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This is a big concern of mine. I don't really know. I am hoping to be in place in a continuous care facility, with my investments placed so that I don't have to touch them and my bills paid automatically. Maybe I will have a doctor that I can entrust with medical decisions. It is a tough problem and hopefully sometime in the next 30 years or so I will have figured it out.

Good questions - especially for those of us that are single, never married. Even now I'm looking at long term health options - and since I'll be retired military, there are a few options for old soldier's homes (I think). But I'm sure when i get to the first year of retirement, thoughts like yours will creep in and I'll find someone/somehow to handle my final years.
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Old 08-31-2008, 11:52 AM   #11
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I am still thinking about that myself.

As far as investment goes, I am thinking about leaving instructions to convert everything in the IRA to Wellington and to get Vanguard to distribute on the 72T estimated longevity schedule, leaving other instructions to continue with a 5-year CD ladder. Have a Pay On Death (POD) instructions on all accounts.

We already have Instructions to Physicians in place.

If I survive DW (statistically unlikely), I have places in Mexico in mind, but I might get lucky and have enough to dry up and die in The States.

We both have absolutely reliable siblings. One of our kids is reliable--can follow instructions and execute reliably.

If I have to pay for the service, I will make sure the kids or a sib understand that they must audit it regularly.

The important thing is to make instructions, put them in writing and make sure everyone knows what to do.
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Old 08-31-2008, 12:43 PM   #12
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I think I'm in trouble. Pretty much full auto on investments(Target, RMD, auto deduct to Prime MM, etc) and a paid up funeral plan/cremation.

However - I'm down to this Sister, 6 yrs younger - thinks the PacNW is great, votes Republican, thought Brett was cute and deserted the Pats for Green Bay last year and has never listened to Pssst- Wellesley.

But - ya go with what you got!

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Old 08-31-2008, 12:51 PM   #13
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I'll have to make a decision or two in my 60's and maybe one in my 80's when its time to shift buckets. Nothing too complicated. Other than that its automatic. Presuming I dont raise my son to be a butthead I can probably count on him for a little help in 45 years.

My ideal goal is to be victimized by some conman who'll clean us out and leave us penniless on the sidewalk.
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Old 08-31-2008, 01:22 PM   #14
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IMHO - The best approach is to find a relative that can be trusted and provide instructions while you are of sound mind.

It does not mean they will follow you instructions... but at least they will know your preferences.

You are on the right track though. If you do not plan... then someone else will make those decisions without any regard to your preferences.
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Old 08-31-2008, 01:32 PM   #15
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We just finished dealing with MILs estate and we are determined to get rid of stuff while we have the will. Many items are for memories and we will share them with the kids before too long. The rest will be donated or disposed of.

We are thinking of setting up a charitable trust and having the kids run it according to our documented strategy. POAs will await a little more certainty about the future.
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Old 09-01-2008, 09:20 AM   #16
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My DW and I have medical and financial POA's to each other and the kids via trust documents. Isn't that sufficient?
We send a updated list of who we have accounts with and the account numbers to our children every year or so. We started doing this a few years after an Aunt of DW's died and her brother (a lawyer and named as trustee in the will) had all sorts of difficulties finding her financial accounts.
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Old 09-01-2008, 12:14 PM   #17
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I'll have to make a decision or two in my 60's and maybe one in my 80's when its time to shift buckets. Nothing too complicated. Other than that its automatic. Presuming I dont raise my son to be a butthead I can probably count on him for a little help in 45 years.
My ideal goal is to be victimized by some conman who'll clean us out and leave us penniless on the sidewalk.
So if you've made new plans, can you pass on that phone number for the "Anna Nicole Smith's great-granddaughter" geriatric-care service?
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Old 09-01-2008, 02:37 PM   #18
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Oh thats still on the table. I just have to become a billionaire and live until I'm over 90.

I dont think I'll have any trouble making that decision at any age.
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Old 09-01-2008, 03:33 PM   #19
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Younger sibling that I trust has the power of attorney and instructions now. Will shift to either a child or niece/nephew when they are old enough, if one looks like a reliable and sensible person I can trust. Eventually expect to park the responsibility on a grandchild, again should one show the kind of responsibility and sensible temperament that I'd trust with those decisions. Hoping I stay capable long enough to make the shift to a much younger person before I need the help.
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Old 09-01-2008, 04:04 PM   #20
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We send a updated list of who we have accounts with and the account numbers to our children every year or so. We started doing this a few years after an Aunt of DW's died and her brother (a lawyer and named as trustee in the will) had all sorts of difficulties finding her financial accounts.
Yep, I have that list in my safe deposit box. I update it when things change substantially (like a new account established).
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