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End-of-life estate planning may ease your mind

Estate planning is something that most people equate with wills and handing out assets after you pass away. That, however, is a misconception that could actually hurt some people. Part of creating a solid estate plan involves taking care of your end-of-life care wishes.

For some people, relying on the government to care for them as they grow old is something they consider a right. It isn't, however, always a feasible option. Medical assistance, nursing home care and even help with funeral expenses are minimal at best if you are planning on relying on the government. On average a private room in a nursing home cost almost $84,000 last year. Without long term care insurance, that sum isn't going to be easily paid by most people, and the government certainly won't pay it.

When it comes to medical assistance, government programs will pay for the bare minimum. This means that you might end up with daily assistance for a few hours at most. Again, this is where planning ahead by either getting long term care insurance or saving money comes into play.

Making health care decisions is another obstacle when you are at the end stages of life because you might not be able to let your medical team know your wishes. For this reason, you should set up a health care proxy who can make those choices for you. Financial decisions might be just as difficult, so put a power of attorney into place to handle your financial affairs when you can't.

There are several estate planning options to consider when you are planning for your end-of-life care. No matter how you set up your affairs for that time, you should know that the people you name in your plan are going to properly care for you. Besides making your wishes known to them, you have to make sure they have everything they need to care for your affairs by making sure you get financial documents, estate planning documents and health care documents together for them.

As you get your estate plan together, make sure that you get your questions answered by someone familiar with the process. You and your family members can rest easy knowing that your wishes have been conveyed in accordance with New Jersey laws.

Source: MarketWatch, "5 financial lessons from a parent’s last days" Charles Passy, Jun. 04, 2014

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