ElderLaw News

ElderLaw News is a weekly e-newsletter that brings you reports of legal developments and other trends of vital interest to seniors and their advocates. This newsletter is brought to you by The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C., William S. Fralin, Esq., President.

Maybe It's Time to Downsize

By Nicholas Sell

Whether by choice or out of necessity, downsizing to a smaller, more manageable size home may be an attractive option for people of all ages. Common reasons why people downsize include:

-- Climate – Moving to a warmer climate remains a popular choice, especially for older adults. In addition to the southwestern states, many coastal and southern states are popular destinations because of their consistent year round temperatures.

-- Cost – In today's economy, the combined cost of the mortgage, insurance, general upkeep, and heating/cooling can be more than people can afford. People on a fixed income may also find it difficult to pay these costs that increase constantly.

-- Equity – A home is often a source of equity for those who are retired and living on a fixed income. While there are ways to get money out of a home without moving, like the use of a reverse mortgage, selling a home may provide greater financial freedom.

-- Floor Plan – The current home layout is often a deciding factor for downsizing. Having difficulty walking up or down steps, or not having a full bathroom on the first floor can present challenges, especially for people with a disability, chronic illness, such as arthritis, or those who are recovering from a medical event, like a stroke.

-- Planning Ahead – Some people downsize because they know that as they get older, it will be increasingly challenging to cope and manage a move. As a result, some consider their future needs, and choose to pursue simplified living arrangements, or they want access to services that are often associated with senior living communities.

-- Size – Whether as a result of becoming empty-nesters or losing a spouse, people often realize they have more space than they need or want. Maintaining a large home is not the way many people want to spend their time or money.

Waiting too long before giving serious consideration to downsizing can also present challenges. Many people come to realize that as they age there often comes a point in time that the sheer thought of moving becomes overwhelming. There is a big difference between knowing what you want to do and actually doing it. Going through years of accumulated "stuff," deciding what to keep and what to get rid of, eliminating clutter, packing boxes, and more can be both emotionally and physically exhausting.

Downsizing can be made manageable. Nicholas Sell says that, "We find that many people are not aware of alternatives that can make downsizing easier and more manageable." A company such as his Caring Transitions works with people to facilitate and manage the entire process. "From coordinating the packing and movers, and getting the things you want moved to the right places, to helping you achieve what you want to do with the stuff you no longer want or no longer have space for, Caring Transitions can do it all."

While most people know they can hire movers and are familiar with ways to get rid of unwanted or unneeded items, there is often much more that goes into downsizing than people consider. Mr. Sell adds, "By seeking the best solutions to support each client's individual wishes and goals, Caring Transitions works to maximize each client’s returns and minimize each client’s stress and involvement."

Downsizing may also require a change in a client's planning. The attorneys at The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. can assist clients with their estate, financial, insurance, long-term care and veteran’s benefits planning.

Nicholas Sell is the owner of Caring Transitions in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

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The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. is an elder law firm. We represent older persons, disabled persons, their families, and their advocates. The practice of elder law includes estate planning, estate and trust administration, powers of attorney, advance medical directives, titling of assets and designations of beneficiaries, guardianships, conservatorships, and public entitlements such as Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and SSI, disability planning, income tax planning and preparation, care management, and fiduciary services. For more information about The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C., please visit our website at http://www.chroniccareadvocacy.com.

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