More and more seniors are finding themselves alone and without nearby relatives to help them with financial management. Persons in this situation will need to find an alternative – friends or professionals who can fulfill the roles that might otherwise be handled by family members.
For seniors, the most vexing problems are associated with incapacity. If you become incapacitated, temporarily by illness or permanently through aging:
• Who will pay the bills?
• Who will track the investments?
• Who will make decisions about real estate?
• Who will make certain that taxes are paid?
• Who will balance the checkbook?
The first solution that comes to mind for these questions is the financial durable power of attorney. This document allows another person to step into your shoes, financially speaking, and make binding decisions on your behalf. A durable power of attorney may be as broad or as limited in scope as needed to make you comfortable. You’ll need to see your lawyer to have the power of attorney drafted and executed.
Another axis of anxiety concerns health care. In this area, you may need:
• a health care power of attorney, with medical instructions to be followed if you are incapacitated;
• a Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) authorization, so that your agent has full rights to your medical records;
• a health care proxy that may give someone decision-making power at the end of your life;
• a living will that outlines your expectations for medical care near the end of your life.
Affluent individuals often rely upon a living trust for financial management in retirement. A living trust can provide financial protection in the event of disability or incapacity, as a durable power of attorney does. However, a living trust offers additional advantages, such as financial privacy at death and probate avoidance. If a corporate trustee, such as us, is named as the trustee, there will be the advantages that come with working with an institution as compared to an individual. We don’t get sick or go on vacation and we leave emotion out of the equation. As fiduciaries, we will always act in your best interests. Trust management is our business, and we attend to it every day.
At The Trust Company of Kansas, we help people. We promise to minimize the burden of wealth management, and bestow the freedom to enjoy everything else. The officers at The Trust Company of Kansas are always willing to discuss your goals for your estate and help you to create a plan that is well-aligned with your wishes. Trusts are one of our core competencies. If you have a specific question about wealth management or trusts, please contact us at (800) 530-5254 or visit tckansas.com/contactus, and one of our Certified Trust and Financial Advisors will be happy to assist you.