Have you thought about what would happen to your pet in the event of your death or incapacity? Approximately two-thirds of American households own a pet, and while we have many people in our busy lives, our pets have only us. Pet owners often lament that beloved animal companions don’t live as long as we do, but they still warrant consideration in our estate plans because we don’t know what the future will bring. This is especially true for animals with longer life expectancies or higher costs of care, such as dogs, cats, horses, parrots, turtles and animals with special needs.
Caring for an ailing family member is difficult work, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be unpaid work. There are programs available that allow Medicaid recipients to hire family members as caregivers.
Social Security survivor’s benefits provide a safety net to widows and widowers. But to get the most out of the benefit, you need to know the right time to claim.
Medicare’s hospice benefit covers any care that is reasonable and necessary for easing the course of a terminal illness. It is one of Medicare’s most comprehensive benefits and can be extremely helpful to both a terminally ill individual and his or her family, but it is little understood and underutilized. Understanding what is offered ahead of time may help.
The bulk of inheritances left to loved ones are usually not held in bank accounts, cars, and other tangible assets. Rather, they are tied up in retirement accounts (such as an IRA, SEP, 401(k) or 403(b)), life insurance policies, annuities, or employee benefit plans or stock options. A will does not govern the disposal of these assets. So, how can you guarantee that your inheritance passes in accordance with your wishes? Review all of your beneficiary designations upon any life changing event, or at least every three years.