Other Life Changes

Overview

Marriage or Registration of Domestic Partnership After Retirement

If you get married or register a domestic partner with the California Secretary of State after you retire, you may want to designate your new spouse/partner as your beneficiary, because as an ACERA retiree, you have certain benefits that will be paid at your death. However, in the Election of Retirement Allowance Form you signed at the time of retirement, you made elections regarding your nominated beneficiaries. Those beneficiaries you designated to receive continued monthly payments (continuance) after your death cannot be changed, even upon divorce, dissolution of domestic partnership, or your beneficiary’s death. Beneficiaries designated for death benefits other than a continuance may be changed at any time.

To change your beneficiary, complete and return an ACERA Retired Member Beneficiary Designation Form. Also, you will be required to provide ACERA with a copy of your marriage certificate and your spouse/partner’s birth verification. If you die, it may be needed for benefit payment to your spouse/partner.

Birth, Adoption, Guardianship

If you have a baby or adopt a child as a retired member, you may wish to designate your child as a plan beneficiary. To do so, complete and return an ACERA Retired Member Beneficiary Designation Form. In addition, while not required, you may wish to provide ACERA with a copy of your child’s birth verification.

Conservatorship

A conservatorship is a legal status, which arises when a person (or organization) requests a judge to appoint him/ her to protect and manage another’s care or finances. The person or organization appointed is called the “conservator.” The person who will be cared for or otherwise provided for is called the “conservatee.” In many cases, elderly individuals, or individuals regardless of age who have mental or physical incapacities are conservatees. Some conservatees need help because they cannot provide for their own hygiene, nutritional needs, or home care.Some need help with their finances, bill payment, and/or investments.  

Conservators may be family members, friends, or professional organizations that specialize in assisting others. For example, local non-profit organizations with departments that service the elderly may serve as conservators. The Judicial Council of California and many California courts publish brochures, which explain the role of conservators and provide information on initiating the conservatorship process. For more information, contact:  

  • Alameda County Bar Association, 70 Washington Street, Suite 200, Oakland, CA 94607, 510-302-ACBA (2222)  
  • Judicial Council of California, Administrative Office of the Courts, 455 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102, 415-865-7745

Eldercare

Eldercare is a term used to describe a host of programs and services designed to address the needs of seniors. There are a wide array of programs and services available. A summary of just some of the services offered under the umbrella of “Eldercare” is included below:  

  • Adult Day Care. Centers are designed to provide care and companionship for seniors who need assistance or supervision during the day.
  • Assisted Living. Housing alternatives for older adults who may need help with dressing, bathing, eating, and toileting, but do not require the intensive medical and nursing care provided in nursing homes.  
  • Home Health Care. Assistance for seniors, which enables them to live independently for as long as possible, given the limits of their medical condition. It covers a wide range of services and can often delay the need for long-term nursing home care. More specifically, home health care may include occupational and physical therapy, speech therapy, and even skilled nursing.  
  • Hospice Programs. Designed to help terminally ill individuals live their remaining days with dignity. These programs can assist the family (or other designated caregiver) in making the patient as comfortable as possible, and assistance is available around the clock, seven days a week.  
  • Government Transportation Programs. Programs sponsored by local governments, such as Alameda County or East Bay Paratransit Transportation Services. Contact 1-800-555-8085 for more information.

Power of Attorney (POA)

A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that provides another person (often a relative or a friend) the authority to make decisions and act on your behalf. The person you identify is called an “agent” or “attorney-in-fact.” In the POA you are called the “principal.”  

The POA does not strip you of your own power or authority to act on your on behalf. Instead, it just means that another person can also act for you. For example, you may want to create a POA to handle just your health care matters, or real estate and financial matters as well. Alternatively, you can create a general POA to handle all your matters. Although you can revoke, change, or terminate the POA, you should be careful to identify an agent you trust whenever you sign a POA. You may want to consult an attorney before creating a POA.