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Older family members may need help with asset protection

Growing older is not always easy. Aside from the physical aches and pains many older Massachusetts residents feel, their memories and mental acuity may also suffer due to the aging process. Before their conditions worsen, they may need help with asset protection, along with other estate planning issues.

Before anything else can be done, it is necessary to determine the current state of an elderly family member's finances. All of his or her assets need to be identified and located. Information regarding each asset should be catalogued, including account numbers, names and addresses of financial institutions and any contact person. Do not forget to gather information regarding online assets such as usernames and passwords. The same process should be accomplished with the individual's debts.

Once all of the information is gathered, it may be beneficial to automate as many payments coming in and going out in order to ensure that nothing is missed or lost. After everyone is satisfied that these preliminary steps are completed, the topic then needs to turn to creating or updating an estate plan. Wills, trusts and powers of attorney need to be completed before an elderly family member no longer has the capacity to execute them. Waiting until that occurs could end up costing precious time and money because family members will need to go to court to obtain the right to act on his or her behalf.

Estate planning is an essential part of asset protection. As the average age of the population across the country increases, many elderly Massachusetts residents could require significant long-term care. Getting their financial affairs in order as soon as possible could ensure that the resources are available to provide the best care available when the time comes.

Source: investors.com, "4 Tips For Helping Your Elders With Finances, Estate Planning", Paul Katzeff, Feb. 13, 2015

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