Retirement Planning

This isn’t a post about 401Ks or IRAs.  This isn’t a post about creating a bucket list for what you want to do when you retire from your 40-year-old career or j-o-b.  This is a post about planning for your final resting place; planning for retiring from this life.

This topic has been thrust into my universe because I am the Power of Attorney for my soon-to-be 75-year-old mother who’s been living with severe dementia the past 7 years.  The private care costs are months away from draining my mother’s accounts and I have to begin the application process for Medicaid.  In order to do this I have to spend down all of her assets and finances to meet Medicaid requirements.  I was given sound advice from a Medicaid specialist at one of the nursing facilities I visited yesterday that I wasn’t prepared to face.  She said:

Are you planning a burial or cremation?  And how do you plan to pay for the funeral?

These questions are not ones we want to focus on when loved ones are not showing signs of being called Home.  My mother’s mind is weak but her body is still strong.  But these questions are necessary for me to focus on in order for me to get financing set aside before I spend all the money down.  I was told I needed to set up an irrevocable burial account.  This type of account funds the funeral costs and cannot be claimed as an asset in the eyes of the government.  I couldn’t thank the Medicaid specialist enough for alerting me of this necessary step. It is now one more thing to add to my To-Do-List:

  1. Get all of mommy’s paperwork in order
  2. Search Medicaid facilities
  3. Visit those researched Medicaid facilities
  4. Contact funeral home to discuss pre-funeral arrangements and set up irrevocable burial account
  5. Fill out and submit Medicaid application
  6. Pack up mommy’s belongings and paperwork at current assisted living facility
  7. Move her to new Medicaid facility
  8. Spend the following weeks getting mommy adjusted to new environment, staff and residents
  9. Spend the following weeks getting myself adjusted to new environment, staff and residents
  10. Breathe

The Medicaid specialist told me not everyone in her line of work is willing to share the pre-funeral planning information with family members.  I believed her since this was the first time I had ever heard about it after speaking to several administrators at various facilities.  I suppose people just assume family members will pool their resources when the time comes because it’s normal for folks to just have an excess of $5,000 – $10,000 just lying around for a “rainy day.”  This irrevocable burial account will relieve my family from a financial burden and provide peace of mind during what will be our greatest time of grieving.

Have you thought about your retirement plans?


2 thoughts on “Retirement Planning

    • Thanks Tina! This is a factor of life we all will need to face at some point, but I know it’s not something discussed freely since it’s an unpleasant topic. If it helps more people get their affairs in order, then I am happy to pass along what I’ve learned during this journey.

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