More Seniors Are Filing for Bankruptcy Due to Rising Costs of Long Term Care

If you can’t afford long-term care, you should be prepared to qualify for Medicaid as quickly as possible. But this kind of advanced planning is often overlooked and could be catastrophic depending on your individual situation.

The cost of long term care has many different implications for those approaching retirement age. People who have spent their entire life saving for their retirement and hoping to tap into pension funds and government benefits can be shocked to realize the rising and significantly expensive costs of long term care.

For these individuals, the support of an experienced estate planning attorney is necessary. An estate planning attorney should also have plenty of background working in the area of elder law, such as advising you about advanced Medicaid planning tools you can use.

More senior citizens are filing for bankruptcy with the rising costs of long term care being one of the leading factors. Since 1991 the rate at which seniors have filed for bankruptcy has more than doubled, and the percentage of elders in the bankruptcy system overall has almost quintupled.

This data was pulled from research completed by the consumer bankruptcy project, indicating that seniors show they are struggling with the unmanageable costs of health care and inadequate income to help afford a lifestyle in retirement and pay for their health care concerns.

More seniors are less likely to pay their own bills, meaning that they will have to turn to Medicaid and plan appropriately with the help of a knowledgeable estate planning and elder law planning attorney. A decrease in retirement benefits across the country is one of the leading reasons why elderly bankruptcy is rising, as fewer people have access to pension funds and reliable sources of income and support in their retirement years.

Just one health care event as an individual or as a spouse in a married couple could be catastrophic to the family finances and can present significant estate planning challenges. Scheduling a consultation with a knowledgeable lawyer today is extremely beneficial for your future. You need to know what to look for in terms of advanced long-term care planning and other elder law issues- our lawyers are here to help.

Have You Taken These Four Steps to Prepare for Greater Longevity?

Americans and people the world over, are living longer than ever before and while this is generally good news, it can be disconcerting if you don’t have an appropriate estate plan in place. Thankfully, doing your estate planning work in advance with the help of a knowledgeable attorney can give you greater peace of mind that should you ever need long term care, that it would be accessible to you and confidence in your estate and financial planning.

The first stage for protecting yourself for greater longevity is considering long term care. There is a good chance that one spouse of every married couple will at least end up in a nursing home. Traditional long-term care policies might be too expensive, but it’s a good idea to investigate your options now. The second thing to do to prepare for greater longevity is to consider incapacity.

Many people assume that their spouse will have the automatic ability to make financial and medical decisions on their behalf in the event they become incapacitated, but this is not always the case. You should have legal documents that line up directly with your wishes and individual desires. The third thing you should do to incorporate longevity into your plan is to avoid probate. If you were to pass away without assets in your sole name, your loved one may have to go through the painful, expensive and sometimes frustrating process known as probate.

Probate can cost anywhere from a couple of thousand dollars to many thousands of dollars and can take six months to a year or longer. Finally, the last step to consider in your longevity plan is how to minimize taxes. Although federal estate taxes might no longer apply unless you have substantial assets inside, there are other taxes that you might need to consider, including inheritance taxes, estate taxes, and capital gains taxes. Make sure that you consult with an attorney about what to do if this applies to you.

Coming to Grips with The Prospect of Long-Term Care

Anyone looking ahead to the future probably has their primary focus in terms of estate planning on how to protect their assets. However, it is also powerful to consider coming to grips with the possibility of long-term care.

Overlooking the prospect of a long-term care can put people in a very dangerous and an unfortunate situation, meaning that they won’t be able to get the help and support that they need when it comes time to recovering in a nursing home or other assisted living facility.

Long-term care is very difficult to understand particularly as it relates to the prospect of Medicare and Medicaid and whether or not these will work. Sitting down with an experienced estate planning attorney is most people’s first concept of working with a lawyer to develop a long-term care plan.

According to a recent study of financial advisors, approximately 60% of those who responded who were working with those clients who had $1 million or more in investable assets shared that fewer than one quarter of their clients had a long-term care plan.

Unless someone has had a direct family experience with a long-term care issue and has taken this as a wakeup call to protect their own interests, they might not understand the many benefits linked to long-term care planning and having a clear strategy designed to assist in the event that a disability or other event suddenly emerges. Talk to a lawyer to get more help.

Nursing Home Residents in Smaller Numbers but Sicker

A new study completed by Kaiser identifies what many operators in the nursing home industry already know.

As residents’ conditions are getting worse, occupancy levels are decreasing. Investigators recently identified that half of the nation’s nursing home residents had a dementia diagnosis and approximately two thirds of residents were currently receiving psychoactive medications such as anti-anxiety drugs, antidepressants or antipsychotics.

Just under a third of current nursing home residents have a psychiatric condition. The total nursing hours increased per resident for each day to 4.1 throughout 2016.

Other findings from the Kaiser study are that a proportion of for-profit-facilities has increased to 69% in 2016 and that Medicaid remains the primary payer for most of these facilities.

If you are contemplating long term Medicaid planning, it essential to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney to help you accomplish these goals and determine your next steps. Protecting a loved one’s interest is imperative and it is necessary to complete a thorough review of proper Medicaid planning to figure out how these facilities will be paid for.

The Quality of Nursing Facilities Could Impact Long-Term Care Transitions

Many people who are interested in learning about protecting their long-term care opportunities in the future are primarily concerned about the best way to protect their individual assets and to ultimately qualify for Medicaid. These are complicated issues that are often addressed in the Medicaid planning process with the help and support of a knowledgeable estate planning attorney.

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society identified that the quality of a nursing home can be extremely important for the outcomes for the patients inside. For example, those patients who were placed inside nursing homes that tended to have higher quality ratings overall had a much lower chance of being transitioned to a long-term care facility over time. It turns out that interventions with these people earlier on in their initial medical condition screening could help to decrease the person’s chances of being transferred to a longer-term facility to continue the management of these needs.

If you are curious about how to pay for long-term care and recognize that this may be an important part of your future, it may be beneficial to schedule a consultation with an experienced estate planning and long-term care lawyer today.

Is Medicaid Your Only Source of Payment for Long Term Care Planning?

As many people approach the subject of estate planning, they put together critical documents to pass on their assets after they pass away.

However, they may neglect the necessary planning tools and insurance policies that could be used for long term care planning. Considering the possible need for long term care is something that everyone in the United States could benefit from. However, for many people, Medicaid may be their only source of payment.

Medicaid qualification is required, which means that many or most of the person’s assets will be lost during life or after death if they don’t take advance planning opportunities. Decisions must be made early regarding the transfer of your assets in order to avoid triggering the Medicaid look-back provision.

Decisions regarding asset transfers are never easy and should always be discussed directly with an experienced estate planning lawyer. Many people can anticipate experiencing some form of mental or physical decline and needing assistance in the form of long term care.

Right now, 40 million individuals are over age 65 and one-quarter of those are expected to live beyond 90. 10% are anticipated to live beyond 95. This makes the importance of estate planning and long-term care planning something that everyone should carefully consider.

Long Term Care Increasingly Means Being Managed at Home

The process for long term care and Medicaid is rapidly changing and may shift dramatically in the next several years. Approximately half of all states around the country are currently providing Medicaid long term care benefits through managed care and 13 additional states require older adults to receive care in that same manner. In addition, many elderly individuals who are struggling with healthcare issues prefer to receive care at home anyways.

Since Medicaid was first set up in 1965, the way that care has been delivered has changed significantly. Back at the time of Medicaid’s inception, nursing home was the primary way that individuals who were struggling with a long-term care problem received their benefits. However, many changes have taken place that now allow people to receive more care at home.

Aging in place is one primary goal for individuals who are looking forward to the future but need additional assistance in getting through the day. Struggling with activities of daily living and coping with the impacts of a long-term care event or a recent cognitive diagnosis may require a difficult conversation between family members about how a loved one will be cared for.

Consulting with an estate planning attorney to develop necessary healthcare and other power of attorney documents in addition to discussing long term goals and advanced Medicaid planning can be extremely beneficial. Do not hesitate to reach out to an experienced estate planning lawyer today to learn more.


These Retirement Errors Could Cost You and Your Kids

Planning ahead for retirement is something you’ve probably been doing for a long time. However, many people are plodding along with their retirement plans without realizing that some mistakes could be costing them and their children in a big way.

Here are the ten biggest mistakes you might be making with your retirement plan that could force your children to have to step in and take care of you:

  • No clear investment plan, or a plan that’s based on a “buy and hope” strategy
  • Too much of your own company or employer’s stock
  • Aiming for an “average” amount in your accounts
  • Still paying the bills for an adult child’s regular needs or lifestyle
  • No established plan for your healthcare expenses in retirement
  • Excessive debt and no plans to pay it down
  • No spending plan for your current expenses or your future budget
  • You’re taking too much out of your retirement plan early
  • Your only retirement plan is a dedication to continue working to fund your needs
  • No plan or insurance in place to deal with long-term care needs

As you can see from this list, most mistakes have to do with not having a contingency plan. Just one long-term care event or accident could leave you unable to work and also coping with costly medical expenses. For someone who planned to be working and very healthy throughout all their retirement, this plan exposes you to a lot of risks if even just one accident occurs. Developing a disability or cognitive problem could present even more serious issues.

Along with comprehensive retirement planning, it’s important to think about your legacy and your estate plan. Consulting with an experienced Massachusetts estate planning lawyer is critical.


New Study Shares that Baby Boomers Do Not Feel the Economy has Recovered From Financial Crisis

Baby boomers are one of the biggest sections of society considering the estate planning and retirement planning process. According to a new study published by Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement, baby boomers have a lack of trust in institutions that has led to a permanent financial problem for many of them.

Ten years after the financial crisis started in 2007, only 2% of baby boomers with median incomes felt that the economy had completely recovered. This has required many boomers to adjust their retirement expectations. Although the middle-income boomers who participated in the study still indicated that they plan to retire, the crisis has forced them to reconsider their expectations for what their retirement will actually look like.

One important consideration in this is adjusting your estate planning documents and considering long term care insurance to help with any additional health costs that may emerge suddenly after an accident or diagnosis. The assets you may have set aside for your loved ones may need to evaluated carefully if you need help with nursing home care, for example. How your retirement assets affect your ability to qualify for Medicaid is another crucial conversation you will want to have with your estate planning attorney.

The latest report conducted in the study indicated that up to 84% of boomers in the median income range took a minimum of one step to adjust their spending behavior after the recent financial crisis. To learn more about the estate planning process and how it can work hand in hand with retirement planning, consult an experienced estate planning lawyer today.


Tips for Avoiding Social Isolation with Seniors

Whether you’re an adult child concerned about an aging parent or growing concerned about your own social isolation, recognizing the signs and symptoms is often the first step to be taken to protect yourself.

Sadly, isolation for senior citizens is a relatively common issue. It’s something that family members and the senior should pay attention to. Family members can play a crucial role in supporting an elderly loved one by being aware of the risks and signals of isolation and by stepping in to help with transportation.

Here are several tips that can help avoid social isolation:

  • Make sure that a loved one who has maintained church attendance continues to do so by identifying carpool opportunities or making other transportation available
  • Keep neighbors in the loop for regular check-ins and encourage weekly or regular social gatherings or meals.
  • Attend regular vision and hearing tests, as many seniors may be avoiding social interaction due to embarrassment about being able to see or hear properly. Making these tests easily accessible with transportation can be very helpful for a loved one.
  • Plan regular family interactions that include the elderly loved one. A weekly check-in or Sunday night dinner can give a senior something to look forward to and it’s a chance for family members to monitor health and nutrition issues in the elderly loved one.

Social isolation, when ignored, could lead to anxiety and depression. It can also amplify the impacts of cognitive and other healthcare issues.

If you’re concerned about an elderly loved one and want to ensure that he or she has properly planned for the future, consult with an experienced elder law attorney.

Your area Council on Aging might also offer programs to assist with these issues and some even offer free or reduced transportation. The following resources may be a great place to start: