One of the considerations you need to make for your estate plan is whether you want to continue living at home, well into old age or even until you pass away. A report from the National Conference of State Legislatures states that in a 2010 survey conducted by the AARP, 90% of respondents over 65 hoped to stay at home for as long as they could.
There are many reasons seniors prefer their own place, including the fact that they find their homes familiar and comfortable, and that they enjoy a greater feeling of independence. Furthermore, living at home might be less costly than staying at a nursing home.
If you want to age in place, the following are some issues you need to consider as part of your estate plan:
- Calculate the costs, including the possible need for a visiting or live-in caretaker or nurse, along with any renovations you’d undertake to make your residence more friendly to changing health and lifestyle needs (such as accommodations for more limited mobility and ways to minimize the risk of falling).
- Make plans for who would take charge of your medical decisions and manage your home in the event of your mental or physical incapacitation. If you want to lower the chances of going to a nursing home, you need to entrust your care to someone who understands your needs and will try as much as possible to keep you in your home environment.
- Consider the implications of each financial decision. For example, if you opt for a reverse mortgage to help finance your continued stay at home, would your beneficiaries have to sell the home to pay off the mortgage after you pass away? (Meaning they might not inherit the home as you intend them to?)
Be sure to discuss your determination to age in place when you contact an estate planning attorney. Your attorney can review a wide variety of options with you and help you make the best decisions for yourself and your beneficiaries.