Retirement is a major financial goal for most of us, the culmination of years of planning and dedication. Ideally retirement is one of the most rewarding stages of life, a time in which we can enjoy the fruits of decades of labor and explore hobbies, interests, and new adventures. Sadly, however, our golden years are not free from financial risk. Retirees and the elderly are often the targets of attempted fraud in various forms, and protecting our assets into retirement and beyond is a concern to which we should all give some thought.
Nursing home living can be a gift for many retirees who have reached a certain age; supported living in comfortable circumstances while surrounded by people our own age has a strong appeal. However, some caution is necessary in protecting our assets from nursing home expenses. By taking a few simple steps to keep our assets safe, we can ensure that our later years are safe and comfortable.
Arrange For Proper Control Of Your Assets
Nursing homes can make some seductive offers to their potential residents, including offering a one-stop approach to financial affairs. Some nursing homes will offer to serve as the residents representative payee, receiving and handling Social Security payments and other retirement or pension payouts. Some may even offer banking services, allowing residents to keep their money in accounts held by the nursing home itself.
On the surface this may seem convenient, but in reality it opens the door to potential financial abuse by the institution itself. The most common version is the nursing home overpaying itself from a resident’s funds, either by fraudulently taking on additional fees and costs or by simply overcharging the account. Without due diligence, this sort of abuse can go undetected for years and costs the resident or their family tens of thousands or more.
Find A Trusted Agent
The easiest way to avoid this calamity is to ensure that nursing home residents are financially independent from their nursing home. Maintaining accounts in other banks out of the control of the nursing home is a key step. Another wise move is establishing a power of attorney with a trusted loved one who can manage the resident’s finances should the need arise. This person should have the time and attention to detail to keep a close eye on the resident’s finances and the charges being made by the nursing home or its agents. Fraud is most easily dealt with if it’s caught early before too much damage is done.
The resident’s agent should also monitor the resident’s life at the nursing home: are they happy and comfortable? Are the appropriate services being provided? In short, are they getting what they pay for? Does the staff allow outside salespeople to make presentations to the residents? How is the resident’s cash handled within the facility? It’s a bit of work, but well worth it for the financial peace of mind of the resident, the family, and the nursing home itself.
Making The Most Of Our Golden Years
With proper care, financial health and security should last a lifetime. By taking some steps now to ensure that our assets are protected during a nursing home residency, we can ensure that we get the most out of that experience, allowing us to enjoy our golden years in comfort and good health.