Step 4: Finances
By: Victoria B. Hathaway, Guest Contributor, Director of Silver Group of Bob Lucido Team of Keller Williams Integrity
Power Of Attorney:
The reason why a Realtor counsels on the importance of clients having a Power of Attorney, which is the legal tool that allows you to act on behalf of another person, is because there are usually many weeks between a home going under contract and “settling” or closing, and anything can and sometimes DOES happen. I have many stories about the problems my clients have faced when they did not have a Power of Attorney in place. Many clients have one that turns out to be non-functional due to being old or “stale” or was written without sufficient detail such that it is not enforceable. Make sure you have one, and make sure it’s recent and air-tight! Unforeseen health events that cause homeowners to be unable to close on the contract have caused a lot of heartache, trouble, expense and in some cases complete destruction of planned-for timelines in the sale/move/purchase timetable. Consulting your current attorney, or better yet, upgrading to an elder law specialist, is one of the best things you can do for yourself, and it’s not something you can go back in time and get when you need it. People have often told me they would get it and then they don’t and it ruins the risk management opportunity for a smooth closing.
Even though the demands of selling and moving make you extremely busy in the short term, this is still a time when it is ideal to revisit or create the best financial structure for your future. Think both big and small picture. Having guidance for the savviest ways to handle your home-selling profit, your retirement community’s buy-in expenses, understanding capital gains, etc. are important opportunities to design the best outcome for the long term. For the day-to-day, I like to make sure there is awareness of professionals called Daily Money Managers. They are exactly what they sound like and are an important resource for people who no longer want the tasks associated with managing their finances, who are struggling to maintain them due to health reasons or the demands of technology, and perhaps most importantly for spouses who are at a loss if the managing spouse becomes ill and is no longer able to maintain the household accounts. I strongly encourage all of my clients to consult with a Daily Money Manager as part of their pre-crisis planning, and if health issues are already looming, do not wait to learn about this service and put it in place. The same advice holds for wealth management. The opportunity for teamwork between the professional and client is a golden one, and early intervention means that an ill spouse or individual can be a part of the hand-off, and that a non-managing individual or spouse can have peace of mind going forward.
In the spirit of understanding there’s a lot going on when you’re selling your home BUT you don’t want to miss out on any resources to which you are entitled, please know about the Veteran’s Administration’s “Aid & Attendance Benefit” which can provide monthly income for Veterans and their spouses at the Assisted Living level of care. Having an elder law attorney who is certified to guide you on eligibility and the chance to learn about how he or she can help you to structure your assets to better position you for eligibility is an opportunity you don’t want to miss. Again, think pre-crisis research and planning!
Victoria Hathaway is the Director of Silver Group, Bob Lucido Team of Keller Williams Integrity’s unique senior division. She is a REALTOR®, Certified Senior Advisor (CSA), Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP), Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES), immediate past President of the Coalition of Geriatric Services (COGS), and serves the board of the Maryland Gerontological Association and advisory boards for Johns Hopkins University’s Aging Studies and the National Association of Senior Advisors (NAOSA). To learn more about our silver group division, call 410.465.6900 or visit boblucidoteam.com/silvergroup