August 10, 2021

How to Maintain Independence in the Face of Well-meaning Family Members

What Is Your Preparedness Level?

By Sofia Ziegler, Manager, Family Office Services

How to Maintain Independence in the Face of Well-meaning Family Members Family Wealth Services

In the Family Office sector we see diverse strategies at play inside high net worth individuals’ preparations for the future. However, one consistent commonality is aging.

Next-generation family members as well as advisors frequently worry that seniors are not prepared to address their changing needs. Conversely, mature clients who are capable and still able to enjoy their independence can see external services as intrusive.

An initial step that frequently addresses both sides of the conversation is a checklist. Seniors can update well-meaning yet pestering relations with tangible facts; anxious family members can set aside their fears, knowing their loved one is cared for and organized.

Let’s get started!

1. Make it Easy

  • Consolidate and simplify accounts where possible.
  • Make sure all accounts are titled correctly.
  • Invite relevant parties to sit in on a meeting with the financial and insurance advisers to discuss the long-term plans in place.
  • Confirm all beneficiary designations are up-to-date.
  • Streamline bill paying.
  • Review homeowners, auto and umbrella liability insurance to make sure they are adequate, appropriate and up-to-date.
  • Review Medicare health insurance coverage, pension, and Social Security benefits.

2. Living Arrangements

  • Is the current housing situation suitable and safe?
  • Do any changes, updates or modifications need to be made to the house now or in the future?
  • Are there contingency plans for illness, disability, or death of a spouse?

3. Records

  • List of all accounts and where they are held, including location of safe deposit boxes and keys.
  • Sources of income and assets.
  • Advisor contacts (power of attorney for finance, and insurance advisors).
  • Schedule of how and when mortgages and debts are paid.
  • Up-to-date will / estate plan.
  • Insurance policies (life, health, long-term care, etc.).
  • Easily accessible list of doctors and prescription medications.

4. Important Documents

  • Keep all papers in one place that family members are aware of but don’t have direct access to without consent.
    • Marriage certificate, divorce documents, list of online usernames and passwords, military records, birth certificate, driver’s license, Social Security card, passport, Medicare card, proof of COVID vaccination, car title and registrations, copy of most recent income tax return, deed of trust for home.
  • Have a health-care directive that spells out life-prolonging care.

Open communication and advance planning can foster positive conversations around prospective needs. A little preparation can help everyone face their future with equanimity.

Have questions? Ask Marcum

As a trusted advisory group, Marcum Family Wealth Services tailors our wide net of resources to focus on client needs. Family Office, Trust and Estate Planning, Charitable / Philanthropy services, and Personal Income all fall under this specialized group. We offer you a dedicated team with experienced professionals to ensure your questions are answered with the utmost discretion and expertise.