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What do I need to consider when budgeting for my mother's future?

Dad recently died and I have been doing the finances since Mom is mostly blind. I want to make sure she has everything she wants and needs. She is 75 and other than the macular degeneration is in good health.
Status: Open    Apr 30, 2015 - 07:48 AM

Finance

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Oct 12, 2015 - 03:31 PM

If your mother is a surviving spouse of a veteran, make sure that you have her deceased husband’s discharge papers, a copy of the marriage certificate and death certificate in a safe location. You will need these key pieces of information in the future should she start having to pay for care. She may be eligible for surviving spouse benefits from the VA to help defray long-term care costs and this should enter into your financial care planning strategy.

Oct 13, 2015 - 09:41 AM

My first question would be what are her monthly expenses, and her income via pension and social security? My next question would be what are mom’s assets? Then, we would question whether your mother or father was a veteran who served at least one day during a time of war? If the answer is yes, then there is a VA benefit that could be an option for your mom at some point in the future. For 2015 the maximum monthly VA pension rate for a widowed spouse of a veteran is $1,149, and for a veteran is $1,789. The pension rate can be impacted by other factors, which a VA accredited agent can explain further.

Future care costs could include the services of an in-home care provider, assisted living, or a nursing home. According to the 2015 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, the National Median rate of a home care provider is $20/hour; assisted living is $3,600/month; and nursing home is $220/day.

There are many things to consider when budgeting for the future. Your interests will be best served by consulting with a Qualified Elder Law Attorney. Good luck!

Oct 13, 2015 - 07:05 PM

This is a big question. I will give you the lawyer answer, you will need input from a finance person also and her doctor.
First, I suggest a power of attorney that will allow you to conduct her business. Also include health care POA powers also.
Second, an advance directive or natural death declaration. It should be her choice on how to live and how to die.
Third, purchase with her input a pre-need burial arrangement. Cremation or fancy funeral, whatever she wants and has the budget to buy.
Fourth, estate planning documents. That would be a Will at a minimum or a trust package at the top end. To know what is best you should contact an estate planning or elder law attorney in your area. Schedule a consultation; it may be free. If not it will still be worth it.
Fifth, open a checking account with you listed as POA for your mother. Make sure you receive check images with your statement. Keep the copies. Either the paper copies or pdf copies. A scanner would be a good purchase at this time to scan receipts, checks and such.
On the financial issues I suggest doing everything with the possiblilty of nursing home care and Medicaid qualification in mind. That means accounting properly for all expenses. If you pay yourself document your hours, duties and fair market value for those services in your area. Pay yourself at least monthly. She should not make gifts. If she has been giving to church on a regular basis you may continue that. I would reduce all other charitable giving to low amounts. If you sell any assets find out the fair market value of the item prior to the sale. Keep documentation of the price and sale.
The best short answer is to seek professional assistance from an attorney and financial planner. I hope you have many more years with your mother.

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Aug 14, 2015 - 02:49 PM

This article may be helpful for you: http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/3-25-14-us-senior-living-pricing-trends/

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