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Long-term care planning options for Washington, DC residents

Without a doubt, every Washington, DC resident is going to grow older. As that happens, it may become clear that some degree of care will be needed -- whether it is in the home, at an assisted living center or in a nursing home. Doing some long-term care planning ahead of time could soften the blow when it comes to the logistics and cost of that care.

One thing that individuals need to consider is that they may lack the competency to make decisions for themselves at some point. In preparation for this possibility, powers of attorney for finances and health care are needed. The powers granted in these documents can be as broad or narrow as the individual is comfortable giving to the person entrusted with the job. More than one person can be appointed in either or both documents. The most important factor for anyone appointed is that he or she has the trust of the Washington, DC resident giving them the powers.

Before these documents are drafted and signed, it may be a good idea to talk to family members about the individual's wishes regarding end-of-life care. Further, whomever the person wants to appoint should be given a full understanding of what the appointment means. It might turn out that a person's first choice is uncomfortable performing the duties. Even if the person agrees, an alternate should be named just in case.

Other issues will need consideration as well, but many people feel better once these choices are out of the way. Thereafter, an individual's attention can be turned to the question of how to fund whatever long-term care planning is set in place. The sooner these efforts begin, the better off the individual should be if and when the time comes. However, it is better to begin later than not at all.

Source: CNBC, "5 planning strategies for adults who may need care", Kelli B. Grant, Sept. 10, 2015

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