As people age, planning for their future becomes crucial. Our firm assists older clients and those who care for them in creating practical estate plans, including Medicaid plans, durable powers of attorney, healthcare proxies, and living wills.
We also help handle long-term healthcare issues, including guardianships. Because Medicaid only covers long-term care expenses if the recipient meets strict income and asset requirements, it is important to consider other options, such as long-term care insurance. You should plan early in anticipation of the possibility of extended nursing home stays.
Powers of Attorney
General durable powers of attorney continue in effect despite the legal disability of the person who grants them. These documents are an important part of a complete estate plan so that someone can continue to manage your affairs or make decisions with respect to your health care if you are not able to do so yourself.
If you do not have these documents in place prior to becoming incapacitated, then it would be necessary for someone to be appointed as a guardian or conservator for you. A guardianship or conservatorship is an expensive, intrusive and time-consuming court-supervised procedure that can be avoided by implementing the proper powers of attorney. Our firm assists our clients in establishing these important documents.
Guardianship and Conservatorship
If a person becomes incapacitated physically or mentally without having a valid durable power of attorney in place, it is then necessary for a court to appoint a guardian or conservator to handle the incapacitated person’s affairs and make all decisions with respect to finances and health care. Even if the guardian or conservator is a close loved one (e.g, a spouse), he or she must report to the court for all decisions he or she makes.
This responsibility can quickly become cumbersome, expensive, and needlessly complicated. Therefore, it is extremely important to plan for the possibility of incapacity so that a trusted family member or other person will have the power to act on your behalf if necessary. Our estate planning services always include durable powers of attorney for property and health care in order to prevent the need for a guardianship or conservatorship.
Long-term Care Insurance Contracts
Long-term care insurance is a form of asset protection for many clients and provides for payment assistance for many types of assisted-living arrangements. However, you must take great care to obtain the policy that is best-suited for your individual circumstances. These types of arrangements may or may not be very beneficial depending upon the details of the arrangement. We can assist you in reviewing your options so that you can choose the right plan.
Failing to plan for long-term care can result in the need for Medicaid assistance. However, applicants will only qualify for Medicaid after they have spent nearly all of their non-exempt assets on long-term care services. Timely planning is imperative so that all available asset exemptions are utilized and that Medicaid eligibility can begin when necessary.
Our firm can assist clients with the federal and state requirements and the application process.