Different Plans For Different Needs
Preserve Your Estate for You and Your Family
Planning strategies to meet these objectives are implemented based on health and potential for disability in the short and long term, as well as projected spending needs and lifestyle goals. Along with financial planning, Estate Planning for healthy individuals involves determining how assets will be distributed upon one’s passing, as well as appointing trusted family members or confidants to act on one’s behalf during illness or incapacity. We encourage seniors to make trusted family members part of the planning process.
An overview of the following issues and documents are reviewed and an Estate Plan is implemented.1
- Probate avoidance
- Asset preservation
- Financial guidance2
- Health care proxies/living wills
- Powers of attorney
- Family trusts
- Trusts for special needs family members
- Deeds with life estates or realty trusts
Optimize Health Care Options — Minimize Legal Concerns
If you or your loved one are confronting health care issues and no planning is in place, or if several years have passed since planning was implemented, the following important points are considered as we guide families.
- Care Options Evaluation - When developing an “Estate Plan with Health Care Needs,” the health and care needs of the senior, the support system of each family and the current insurance coverage are carefully considered by our Nurse Case Managers, and remain the primary focus of the planning process. Clinical eligibility for community-based programs is evaluated along with the assessment of financial criteria often required to qualify to receive the maximum amount of services at home.
- Estate Planning and Living Documents.1 - Comprehensive Durable Powers of Attorneys and Health Care Proxies/Living Wills are critical documents to implement or update when a loved one's physical and/or cognitive health is declining. These documents allow an individual to name a trusted family member or confidant to make important decisions regarding their health care or legal and financial affairs, in the event of cognitive or physical incapacity. The proper Estate Planning documents, such as Wills, Deeds and Trusts are also implemented based on care needs and mortality.
- Asset Preservation and Financial Guidance.2 - This is another instance where a comprehensive approach, including a health care evaluation, is so important in the planning process. If there is a high likelihood of a rapid decline, potentially resulting in either death or disability (nursing home placement or excessive home care costs), effective financial planning should consider current as well as potential future out-of-pocket care costs. An evaluation of how assets are currently held will determine what type of protection strategies should be implemented in an Estate Plan. This all must be done while considering the next level (Medicaid Planning- see Emergency and Crisis Planning), which considers current state and federal guidelines regarding transfers of assets that allows families to optimize their care dollars, while legally, morally and ethically protecting their estates.
Even in a Crisis, It's Never Too Late to Plan.
If your loved one is in a health care facility (or about to enter one), the most important thing to remember is that planning can still be done, despite advice given by well meaning neighbors and friends, as well as other professionals who may not specialize in this area. Planning for emergency nursing home cases involves many variables, and truly requires input from all three disciplines; Case Management, Financial2 and Legal Overview.1 The goals of each family are carefully reviewed and a plan is developed based on the following factors:
Care Options Evaluation — Whether or not someone needs long term care in a nursing home is based on several factors, including:
- Competency/desire to remain in the home
- Skilled vs. custodial care needs
- Living environment/safety issues
- Family support/ability to participate in care
As we work together with families and get to know their needs and goals, we provide guidance that gives them the best opportunity to develop the optimum care plan, whether in a facility or at home with appropriate care services. Our goal is to always advise on how to maximize care dollars and advocate that care be delivered in the least restrictive setting.
Asset Preservation and Financial Guidance2 — Families often contact us when a loved one:
- Is receiving short term rehabilitation covered by their Medicare and combined Supplemental Medicare benefits, if any.
- Needs to plan for ongoing care, either in the home/community, or in a nursing home.
Once Medicare benefits end and an individual stays in a nursing home beyond that coverage, their payment options depend on whether any planning has been done. Payment would range from the following potential sources:
- paying out of available family assets
- accessing any long term care insurance benefits if applicable
- qualifying for long term care Medicaid benefits.
Estate Planning and Living Documents1 — The order in which the documents are drafted and executed is critical when devising an Emergency Medicaid Plan. Oftentimes it is necessary to expedite certain documents based on acuity of an illness or potential mortality issues. Allowable asset exemptions are evaluated in the planning process, and implemented whenever possible and appropriate to preserve an estate and qualify a loved one for Medicaid Benefits (for a list of exempt assets, ask for our Getting Started Booklet). Also, refer to Estate Planning with Health Care Needs.
Not Sure Which Plan is Right for You and Your Family?
Read the following three questions and determine which one best captures your family's needs. Oftentimes needs change during the planning process and the plans will have some overlap.
Are you and your loved one in googd health?
...but would like to plan for your senior years as well as preserve your Estate for you and your family, see Preemptive Estate Planning.
Are you or your loved one facing health care issues?
...that are causing concerns about ongoing care needs, the costs of care, as well as elder legal issues, see Estate Planning with Health Care Needs.
Is your loved one in a hospital?
...rehabilitation center or nursing facility, or about to enter one, see Emergency and Crisis Planning.
- Senior Resource Center, Inc. (SRC) is not a law firm, but is affiliated with Falco & Associates, P.C. SRC provides a legal overview of potential legal issues and may make a referral to Falco & Associates, P.C. or a law firm of the individual’s choice if legal work is necessary. Services provided by SRC are not legal services and the protections of the lawyer-client relationship do not exist with regards to these services.
- Senior Resource Center, Inc. (SRC) and its employees are not registered investment advisors, nor do we offer or sell securities.