Note: Mauterstock is presenting at our 2016 FPA of MN Annual Sympsium on October 10-11.
The February Issue of the Journal of Financial Planning asked 10 Questions of former advisor and author on eldercare issues, Bob Mauterstock. Mauterstock stressed the importance of advisors developing skills to deal with aging clients. Since every advisor’s goal is to have long and rewarding relationships with their clients, that inevitably means that issues are going to arise as clients grow older and their physical and mental health deteriorates. Mauterstock recommends the following for every advisor to prepare for the day when the service they provide a client focuses more on helping them manage aging rather than their portfolio.
- Become fully versed in the programs and services available to the elderly for dealing with aging as well as the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
- Build a network of eldercare experts including an elder law attorney, geriatric care manager, long-term care insurance provider and a senior real estate specialist.
- Have each client sign an agreement that specifies a third party with whom you can share financial information if the client shows sign of diminished capacity.
- Develop an office protocol to be used when it has been determined that a client’s mental capacity is slipping.
Mauterstock has written two books to help families have the conversation about dealing with the physical and mental decline of aging. He feels that advisors should take a proactive approach to facilitate these discussions in order to ensure that a plan is in place for the client’s care before problems arise.
Finally Mauterstock noted that the priority for people dealing with their own diminished capacity is to maintain some control over their lives during the decline. Then as their lives draw to a close, their primary concern shifts to defining what their legacy will be. Since the advisor’s relationship with the client is often forged with dealing with life’s changes, it seems natural that these final changes be part of the advisor/client conversation.