Caregiving: The financial toll

March 5, 2014

Eleanor Blayney is a consumer advocate for the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. She explains why caregivers need to ask for financial help, in addition to medical, at Washington Post Live's 2013 Caregiving in America forum. (The Washington Post)
 Eleanor Blayney at Washington Post Live’s Caregiving in America forum in Chicago. (Photo by Ashlee Rezin/The Washington Post)

“We talk about a pain scale in the medical community, one through 10. How bad does it hurt? If we had the same thing in talking to caretakers about cost: What is your financial pain? It probably would register nine or 10, if not off the chart. There are ways to find cash [including] reviewing life insurance policies, annuities. If the person qualifies for Medicaid, there is a way to pay that caretaker under Medicaid. I’m not promising it’s a lot, but it’s something. Tax planning is huge. A lot of expenses can be tax deductible.

If a caretaker is named as a trustee on a trust, he or she can often step in and make decisions about the financial assets without taking title to those assets. So it can be an important mechanism to have in place. For example, I have a trust, my daughter is trustee. If I begin to get a little flaky and she gets a couple — or maybe three — doctors’ opinions, she can take over. She can become my acting trustee, governing anything that I put in that trust.”

-Eleanor Blayney, consumer Advocate, Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards

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