In counseling people who have been homeowners for more than 40 years, several types of issues are frequently discussed. These include financial, practical, logistical and emotional issues. I think it is highly beneficial to explore these areas of concern well in advance of when related decisions need to be made. An honest exploration of feelings and emotional ramifications may be most helpful, and frank discussions with family members may clarify issues and alternatives.
Estate planning or wealth management counseling may beneficially address the financial concerns. It may be time to review family trusts again, to be sure that the terms are in accord with present conditions and family needs. Perhaps some significant modifications would be advisable due to changes in various tax laws or major differences in financial holdings. Also, it can be helpful for family members to have clearly detailed instructions as to future distribution of assets or personal items. Even written personal wishes may be a relief for children or other relatives to have in time of need.
One of the most frequent questions asked is, “If I sell my home, where could I live?” Researching among many alternatives may take several months, and there may be no set of answers that will make the process an easy one. However, this process may be far more difficult in later years when there is less energy, and mobility or when some abilities may be diminished.
For those who would prefer to stay in their current home, practical or logistical options to make the environment more functional and easier to maintain can be discussed. Alternatively, the large equity in a home may be freed up by selling it and buying a more easily maintained place perhaps closer to shops, family or medical facilities. Part-time or full-time live-in assistance may be funded by refinancing or reverse mortgages. There may be some interest in investigating assisted care facilities or conventional retirement homes or communities. For example, continuous care retirement communities (C.C.R.C.) provide a full set of different levels of care ranging from complete independence to maximum, round-the-clock care. Though this option may not be desirable currently, taking the long view and doing the comprehensive research now may open possibilities for the future.
There are numerous possibilities that may become known during the process of exploring the question “where can I live” that had not been previously considered. These may include enjoying the variety of programs in a recreational retirement community or living closer to family members in a more easily managed environment or exploring financial options for staying in the current home. Having some clear and definite preferences decided may provide enormous peace of mind and ease in making lifestyle changes when necessary. Those who do not begin asking such questions soon enough may find themselves in a position where others begin making such decisions for them, which may not be the same choices they themselves would have made.
Michael Edlen provides real estate counseling services to prospective buyers and sellers and helps over 60 clients each year to move. More tips and information are available on, MichaelEdlen.com. He can be reached at 310.230.7373 or [email protected]