Estate Planning as Part of a Long Term Care Plan

More than 70% of seniors will require some type of long term care.  It may surprise you, or your family members, to realize that long term care is typically not covered by Medicare and often not considered as part of a basic estate plan.  With these costs averaging $10,000/mo in Maryland, it can quickly diminish a lifetime of savings or a potential inheritance for your loved ones.  An elder law attorney is the best advisor to help you consider whether your estate plan includes considerations for long term care. Here are a few things you need to know.

Why You Need An Elder Law Attorney to Review Your Estate Plan?

Not all estate planning attorneys are experienced in elder law. This is a specific area of law that addresses the needs of senior citizens and their families.   An elder law attorney can review your existing will or estate plan, or help you develop a plan.  In addition, they can provide guidance on the importance of the Medicaid 5 Year Lookback Requirement, and ways to protect your assets.  They can also address end of life wishes, estate administration, and even probate issues.  Your experienced elder law attorney should also review recommendations for:

Creating a Will and Organizing Documents

Gathering documents and creating or updating a last will and testament now, rather than later, will help the elder’s surviving family members after their older loved one passes away. Not only does having all necessary documents organized and easy to access make the probate process go more smoothly, but having an updated will can help ease tensions between family members and ensure that the testator’s property is distributed properly amongst their beneficiaries. It is best to start on these tasks early, before it is too late due to a medical complication, failing memory, or other health issue.

Power of Attorney, Advance Health Directive, and Guardianship

One of the most crucial steps to take for estate planning is the sound of mind that a power of attorney can create. A power of attorney has the authority to make financial decisions on behalf of the elder person if they become incapacitated or pass away. A guardian may be a good choice for elderly people who have dementia, and an advance health care directive lets family members know what their loved one wants to have happen in the event of being incapacitated.

Medicaid Trust for Assisted Living or Nursing Home Care

A recent study found that over half of Americans will eventually need nursing home care, according to Health Day. While most of these stays will be relatively short, five percent will stay over 1,500 days in a nursing home, and five percent will spend over $50,000 on nursing home care. Quite often, long term care is out of budget for many people, meaning that they either have to go without it, rely on the finances of their children, or find a financial workaround. One of these workarounds that many people use is a Medicaid trust, which will allow for the elder’s finances to be set aside and saved while at the same time provide them with the opportunity to get the treatment and assistance that they need.

Creating Other Trusts, Tax Savings, and More

A Medicaid trust is only part of the financial planning required for long-term care. An estate planner can also help with the following:

  • Tax planning;
  • Minimizing estate taxes;
  • Gift planning;
  • Set up a charity for gifting; and
  • The probate process

Meet With a Maryland Elder Law Attorney Today

There are many reasons why estate planning should include considerations for long-term care and the Maryland elder law attorneys at Frame and Frame can help you get started.  Schedule a free 15 minute private consultation with one of our elder law attorneys today.