Memory loss in your later years can be difficult, emotionally as well as financially. That’s why having a conversation with your loved ones, or devising a plan early on, could broaden your options and at the same time, help ensure your wishes are met should things take an unexpected turn. While you may be thinking ‘she’ll be right,’ taking steps toward simplifying your finances while you have your wits about you could benefit you, as well as those that care for you most.
While forgetfulness can be common among older adults, it’s not always cause for concern.
In saying that, the number of Australians living with dementia—something that typically involves progressive memory loss and the inability to perform everyday tasks—is on the rise. According to Alzheimer’s Australia:
Tips for covering your bases
If it’s something you’ve been thinking about, here are some tips to make sure your bases are covered, and to help eliminate personal and financial risks.
To make things easier for the person who’ll make decisions if you’re unable to, you may want to set up a file of your personal and financial information, and keep a copy in a safe location, such as with your solicitor. These documents may include:
It’s important you keep your will updated, as it’s a legal document that covers what you’d like to happen with your assets, and potentially your funeral later on. The contents of a will could raise controversy among family members, so it’s good to iron out any issues early on.
If you have nominated an executor to carry out the wishes in your will, let your family know and make sure this person agrees, knows their duties and where your will and other important documents are kept.
This person will make legal and financial decisions for you, if you can’t. It’s very important to choose someone you trust, as they’ll be responsible for looking after your bank accounts, ongoing bills, and even selling your house if you need to move into a care facility.
Some people assume that how and in what proportions you want your super distributed can be included in your will. This isn’t necessarily the case, unless you’ve specified the necessary arrangements with your super fund beforehand, so you’ll need to make sure your beneficiaries are up to date and in order.
You may not require aged care, but in case you do, expressing your wishes may help those around you in determining the best course of action. The My Aged Care website (www.myagedcare.gov.au) provides more information.