The Elder and Disability Law Firm, APC
Financial planning for senior citizens
Most California residents would prefer to spend their retirement years in their own homes, but this may not always be possible. Taking steps to prepare for the financial costs of long-term care is an important part of estate planning, but individuals face a number of other important decisions as they near retirement. Large homes that were once filled with children may be unsuitable for retirement living, and not paying attention to tax issues could cause Medicare premiums to rise.
Retirees who wish to remain in their homes should first determine what sort of renovations are called for to take care of their retirement needs. The costs of installing stair lifts and wheelchair ramps can mount quickly, and it may make more sense to put the property on the market and look for a more suitable house. Residential developments that cater to the needs of retirees can be found all over California, and these communities usually offer social activities as well as homes designed with older occupants in mind.
While recent changes to the nation's tax laws mean that most senior citizens do not need to concern themselves with estate taxes, they should still pay attention to their taxable incomes as earning too much can cause Medicare Part B and D premiums to increase. Other prudent steps include deciding which assets should be sold in times of financial stress and drafting a health care power of attorney.
Attorneys with estate planning experience may be able to advise retirees about their long-term care planning options, such as financial strategies that offer tax benefits while providing a guaranteed income. Attorneys might also recommend using trusts to avoid the probate process and give testators more control over how and when their assets will be distributed.