Caring for an older loved one can be a considerable challenge. As their health begins to decline – whether due to a medical condition or old age – the family will need to create some sort of long-term care plan to ensure the senior can access the care he or she needs without unnecessarily losing hard-earned assets. The good news is that an elder law attorney can help you use legal tools and resources that you may not be aware of to plan ahead for future concerns. Here are five ways an experienced attorney can be of assistance:
- Creating Directives. Having legal documents created such as a Power of Attorney and Healthcare Directive will give someone else (usually a spouse or an adult child) authority to communicate with financial institutions and doctors if the senior needs assistance managing their affairs. An elder law attorney will work with the senior to create documents that ensure their wishes are honored under all circumstances.
- Help Plan for the Costs of Long-Term Care. The cost of home care is increasing, and not all care can be performed at home. Care related to aging is not generally covered by private insurance or Medicare and can cost in excess of $7,000 a month. Your attorney will help you create a plan to ensure your family can afford any care that’s needed.
- Plan for the Possibility of Medicaid. While Medicare does not cover long-term care costs, Medicaid often does. However, there are very strict income and asset limitations to qualify, and an elder law attorney may be able to help you reallocate assets in order to meet the state and federal government’s thresholds. Your attorney can also help you understand how to navigate any look-back periods, which can vary from state to state.
- Serve as an unbiased voice of reason. As people age, their perceptions of reality might shift. For example, they might struggle to decipher if their safety is at risk in their current living situation. When this is the case, the opinions of those closest to them can be pushed aside. An experienced elder law attorney will be able to assess the situation in terms of living arrangements, your parent’s health and well-being, and offer advice to the senior as a neutral third party.
- Create a Complete Estate Plan. Your attorney might suggest creating a trust, writing or updating a will, and choosing an Executor and or/Trustee for their estate in combination with the previously discussed documents.
If you are looking for guidance as you plan ahead for an aging parent, or for your own senior years, please contact our office at (770) 693-2426 to schedule an appointment.