Planning for aged care living is becoming as complex as planning for retirement and can have more pitfalls, both financial and emotional, warns Anna Lawton at Equity Trustees Limited (EQT).
“Lack of planning for aged care needs can cost clients unnecessarily if they are not well advised, which is a challenge for financial advisers as well as an opportunity.
“Knowing how the rules and regulations affect one’s financial position is as important in planning for aged care as it is for superannuation, and lack of knowledge can come at a huge financial cost.
“Financial aspects are not the only issue as, unlike retirement planning, people generally do not want to consider the possibility of aged care, much less to plan for it.
“The challenge for financial advisers is to get retired clients to think about the very real possibility they will need aged care in their later years. As Australians live longer, the probability increases.
“For financial advisers, the situation is different to superannuation and retirement savings as clients look forward to retirement and will seek advice. They want to know about their options, and are usually willing to act on advice given.
“With aged care planning, clients are less willing to discuss their needs, even with their family. Indeed, they are often in a state of denial. They may expect arrangements to be made with their family that the family isn’t aware of and are not planning for, or they may simply become incompetent to make decisions.
“So sensible planning starts a long time before the need and advisers have a major responsibility, as well as a professional opportunity, to help clients face their needs as they age and understand the options that will be available for them,” says Ms Lawton.
Equity Trustees’ Aged Care Placement Services can assist advisers and their clients in aged care placement, while Equity Trustees Aged Care Advice division specialises in structuring finances for the move into aged care to preserve wealth and optimise income and accommodation for the prospective resident.
Ms Lawton said the decisions to be made are more involved than people simply deciding on where they want to spend the last years of their life.
“Deciding on an aged care facility that is at the standard you want, or can afford, can be difficult as there is not always a bed available at the time of need.
“Pre-planning can help with this, by helping ensure people fully understand the facility options available to them and have put in place the financial strategy to best support this.
“It also means they don’t end up having to make a last-minute decision about aged care when their doctor tells them they can no longer stay in their own home,” Ms Lawton said.
Equity Trustees Limited (EQT) is a publicly listed company that provides a range of financial services to corporate and private clients. Its businesses include asset management, distribution, responsible entity appointments, private client wealth management, and corporate and personal superannuation.
For more information please contact:
Anna Lawton – Phone: 1300 781 586
21 January 2014