E22Did you know that the fastest-growing group in the United States is seniors aged 85 and older? Or that in the next two to three decades, America will have more than 75 million people who are 60 or older?

Those statistics appear in an intriguing new article in Barron’s, which makes a claim you might have a hard time believing — if you’re struggling to care for your aging parents, the big banks might be able to help you.

As it turns out, banks have been polling their wealthy clients for quite some time about the issues that mean the most to them. College savings, tax returns, and investments used to top the list. Not anymore.

These days, banks say their clientele are more anxious about long-term care for their parents than any other financial challenge.

That’s why Bank of America set up its Eldercare Planning Services program in 2012. And they aren’t the only ones. Barron’s reports that Wells Fargo, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and Northern Trust are among the many major banks now offering some form of elder care service.

Mind you, the banks aren’t actually paying for your bills. In fact, their services primarily target only their wealthiest accountholders. But they can help make the transactions themselves a little easier.

The Barron’s article even describes one episode in which U.S. Trust helped its customer arrange for dialysis appointments at various cities throughout Europe so that they could take one last global vacation together.

Any time you’re talking about banks, though, it’s best to proceed with caution. Many of the services available through your bank’s elder care office can be even more easily achieved outside the big-bank system. As a matter of fact, I help many of my clients with those some kinds of arrangements all the time.

Still, if you’re looking at substantial long-term costs in your future, you will need a bank account, and it might be a good idea to choose a bank that offers some sort of elder-oriented service.

Ultimately, the best advice is to get good advice before you sign on the dotted line for financial services of any kind. And when it comes to advice on elder law, I’m always happy to help. Feel free to give me a call.

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