If you’ve created a will, then congratulations: you’ve done more than a lot of people do when it comes to estate planning.
But your work doesn’t stop there. Your will might address questions about what happens to your assets after your death, but it doesn’t do everything.
This is why you should have an estate plan that includes things such as a living will, power of attorney and health care power of attorney to ensure that you can still meet your medical and financial needs if you ever become incapacitated.
When it comes to our family members, we like to think that we know what is best for them. For the most part that is true. After all, these are people we grew up with or in the case of family by way of marriage, got to know over the years.
Yet there are times, in particular when loved ones get older and need help, that the question, “Should I seek professional help?” arises with respect to the health and financial affairs of your loved one.
When most people plan for their senior years, they mostly think about a will that specifies how their assets will be distributed upon their death.
But there are other things to think about as well, such as what will happen if you have a stroke, develop a serious illness or become incapacitated?
What should you or your loved ones have in place in those circumstances?
It is extremely important to consider and plan for serious illness, not just death. While we are living longer, that doesn’t always mean we are living healthier. Stroke, complications from diabetes or osteoporosis can lead to nursing home placement. A legal plan must be established with the help of an elder law attorney when a person is healthy so that a difficult situation doesn’t become more difficult when illness or incapacitation occur.
Here are some suggestions for how you can plan ahead for serious illness:
Many people, as they get older, choose to have a joint bank account with a family member, such as a son or daughter.
The idea behind this is to have one less thing to worry about since a joint account is an easy way for someone else to have access to funds for day to day expenses. While this sounds great in principle, there are pitfalls to having a joint bank account:
Preparation is a key component when planning for the future. Choices about where to live, long-term care and how to protect assets are common age-related decisions. One way to keep these choices from becoming overwhelming is to seek the advice and guidance of an elder law attorney.
While many people feel they don’t need the help of an elder law attorney, there are instances where the guidance and legal support of an attorney may become necessary.
Often, people disregard the benefits of consulting with an elder law attorney because they see it as an unnecessary cost, especially when they do not have any persistent health issues. However, legal and health issues can arise suddenly and without the correct preparation, elders can have a difficult time recovering and managing healthcare expenses.
Many times when talking to clients about planning for long term care they tell me that they are aware of something called the “five year look-back period.” Unfortunately, many of these people have no idea what the relevance of this look-back period is. This article will attempt to explain what is meant by that term and why it is such an important concept when planning how to protect your assets from the cost of long term care.