EIGHT ELDER LAW PLANNING MISTAKES TO AVOID

Jim and Sarah were growing old gracefully but weren’t in the habit of planning ahead. Eventually, he started to have cardiac problems, and she started to show signs of early dementia, memory loss and periods of confusion. Even so, they stubbornly refused to plan ahead – not even to take care of basic estate planning with Powers of Attorney and Wills. They said that their kids and other family members would care for them at home. They thought about long-term care insurance, but never really took the time to check it out.

A series of small strokes left Sarah unable to fully care for herself and advanced her dementia. Jacob tried to bring Sarah home but just couldn't manage to care for her, and the burden on him was immense. She ended up needing nursing home care.

Jacob thought that their Medicare and supplemental health insurance coverage would pay for her nursing home care but was shocked to learn that it did not,. Because he did not have Power of Attorney, he had to go to court to get guardianship to handle Sarah's accounts. Once Sarah was already in the nursing home, he thought it was too late to plan and never sought out elder law planning advice. They ended up paying and paying, way more than they had to.

I beg of you, learn from their experience and be aware of these EIGHT ELDER LAW PLANNING MISTAKES TO AVOID.

NEGLECTING BASIC ESTATE PLANNING. Don't get caught dead without it! Everyone should have at least Powers of Attorney and a Will in place, to make sure that whatever what happens, you get to choose the people to help you, to do what you want them to do.

BELIEVING THAT MEDICARE AND HEALTH CARE INSURANCE WILL COVER LONG-TERM CARE.

Medicare and your supplemental coverage pay for short-term, temporary stays in a nursing home after a qualifying inpatient hospital stay, but do not pay for long-term, custodial care in a nursing home. Medicaid and VA benefits do. And you can’t always expect care from your family. Sometimes children and other family members can provide adequate care, but often they may not be able or willing. In any event, caregiving is an awfully arduous job.

THINKING IT’S TOO LATE (OR TOO SOON) TO PLAN

It’s never too late to plan, or at least to try. I can help you save your money even after you are in the nursing home! It's never too late to get advice and plan.

MAKING GIFTS AND TRANSFERRING PROPERTY WITHOUT AWARENESS OF THE CONSEQUENCES.

Seniors’ generous gifts can interfere later with your eligibility for benefits needed to help pay for expensive long-term care. A common example is when a widow or widower wants to give his home to his child, or add his child on to the deed to the house. There are advantages and disadvantages that I can explain to you, and sometimes it makes a lot of sense. What's crucial is to make such decisions in a well-informed, strategic manner, knowing the pros and cons and consequences of such steps

NOT INVESTIGATING LONG-TERM CARE INSURANCE

It's not for everyone but it’s still worth checking it out. We buy insurance to protect against foreseeable, catastrophic risks – homeowner’s insurance, life insurance, car insurance. The potential cost of long-term care is just such a predictable risk that we can insure against. Yes, long term care insurance costs money and requires cash flow along the way, but after someone enters the nursing home and the benefits begin to pay, the breakeven point is astoundingly short, even as little as six months. Modern coverages combined with life insurance can assure that you will get your money back one way or another, whether you ever need long-term care or not.

OVERLOOKING VA BENEFITS

Qualifying veterans and their widows are eligible for VA benefits that can help defray the cost of care, especially in an assisted living or personal care home setting. Many are unaware of this benefit.

LETTING THE HOSPITAL DISCHARGE PLANNER SELECT A CARE FACILITY PLACEMENT

When your loved one needs long-term care placement, I recommend using an elder care consultant to advise you – often a nurse, social worker, or other healthcare professional in private practice. They can assess, evaluate, and recommend the best placements based on up-to-date knowledge of the facilities. Hospital discharge planners may be too busy getting a patient out of the hospital and into the next available bed to pay adequate attention to your needs and preferences, to the degree that you deserve.[SW1]

FAILING TO GET THE RIGHT KIND OF ELDER LAW PLANNING ADVICE

The bottom line is that it's crucial to get the right kind of advice – strategic Elder Law planning from an Elder Law lawyer – before, during and after your loved one begins to need expensive long-term care such as in a nursing home. Care facilities and benefits payors have their own agenda. There's no one else in the system whose job is to advise you, represent you, and serve your interests. You can’t afford not the get the right kind of advice.


[SW1]Is this paragraph necessary? It seems to have much less severe consequences then all the other paragraphs

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