Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Long Term Care Planning allows my clients to protect hard earned money from the draining cost of long-term care, perhaps even allowing the client to stay in their home rather than move to a skilled nursing facility, (nursing home) without selling your house, without wiping out your life savings, without leaving your spouse penniless, and possibly still leave an inheritance for children and/or a charity!
Long Term Care Planning is designed to be an ongoing, life-long process to ensure that a client or loved one gets the best possible care and maintain the highest possible quality of life, whether at home, in an independent or assisted living community or a skilled nursing facility. A well developed long term care plan not only ensures that orderly distribution of your assets upon passing, but also addresses what happens if you don’t die but get sick and need long term care.
Objectives of Long Term Care Planning
With proper planning, families can obtain Medicaid assistance without having to “spend down” the savings accumulated during a lifetime.
Protecting Your Spouse: With proper planning, the “community spouse” at home can keep the couple’s assets while Medicaid pays for the cost of nursing home care. One of the most important goals is to ensure that the community spouse remaining at home has sufficient assets so he/she does not have to suffer a reduction in his/her standard of living.
Protecting Quality of Life: If you are a single or widowed client, the most important reason for you to engage in asset protection planning is for you to be able to enjoy the highest quality of life possible in the event you are forced to enter a nursing home.
Money that we help you protect in the process of getting you qualified for Medicaid can be used once you are receiving Medicaid benefits to provide you with an enhanced level of care and a better quality of life.
For instance, you may be able to pay for a private room, which is not available on Medicaid alone. We often encourage the families of our clients to use the protected assets to hire a private care provider – someone to keep you company, help you with meals, etc. Money that we help you protect can also be used to purchase services or items for you that are not covered by Medicaid, such as dental work, vision aids, hearing aids, personal clothing, toiletries, haircuts, and nail care.
Protecting Children: Some parents have saved and sacrificed their entire lives and have a strong desire to leave a financial gifts for their children. With proper planning this goal can be achieved while still qualifying for Medicaid. Long Term Care Planning is the ONLY way to guarantee an inheritance.
Protecting your loved one with a Disability: There are asset protection strategies that will allow you to protect your home and an unlimited amount of assets for the benefit of a child with a disability or other family members with a disability.
When should you start this type of planning?
It is never too soon to start Long Term Care Planning. It is absolutely essential to start Long Term Care Planning when a person needs help with activities of daily living (eating, dressing, bathing, toileting, transferring, and walking) or instrumental activities of daily living (such as cooking, cleaning, caring for pets, paying bills, and managing finances). This type of planning MUST be started while you are still mentally capable of making legal and financial decisions or can be initiated by an adult child acting as agent under a properly drafted Durable Power of Attorney, even if you are already in a nursing home or receiving other long-term care assistance.