Newest Elder Care Resource: Your Bank

bankIf you were looking for information on elder care, you probably wouldn’t think to check with your bank. But the Wall Street Journal reports that banks are increasingly offering elder care resources to their customers, including managing medical bills or the sale of a home, or even hiring care providers.

Wells Fargo, Merrill Lynch, and Bessemer Trust are just a few of the financial institutions expanding their elder care offerings. In some cases, banks will charge an additional fee for service, but in others, services are included in asset management fees.

Banks sometimes contract out services, as well. Broadspire Care Management, for instance, is a geriatric care management organization that contracts with wealth management firms and banks. They report a 10-12% increase in referrals from financial institutions in the past three years.

Obvious services include estate planning and powers of attorney, but financial institutions are also offering crisis management (after a broken hip, for instance), assistance selecting the appropriate Medicare plan for your needs, insurance claims managment, assisting with assisted living, nursing home, or other long-term care provider selection, and health and home assessments.

While this broad range of services can be useful, it’s not easily accessible for everyone. Banks are aiming to build long-term relationships with their clientele in hopes of retaining the business of future generations, so access to geriatric management services involves a financial commitment and sometimes hefty fees. For instance, a minimum deposit may be required — often $1 to $3 million. Most average families don’t have estates that large. But those that do may find it advantageous to have one institution overseeing most or all of their elder care needs — and why not the same company they already trust to manage their assets?

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