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.
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.
Nearly 60 years ago, in 1959, LIFE magazine ran a four-part photo essay that spawned national outrage and spurred the country toward change. Billed as a real-life kind of horror show, the magazine captured in stunning detail the harrowing experience of America’s senior citizens.
This was before Medicare, before Medicaid, before our modern medical advances, and just a couple of decades into Social Security. If the elderly are still fighting for visibility in today’s society, they were all but veiled then. Most Americans were blissfully unaware of the typical conditions in a senior care facility, which were far worse than the still-lacking nursing homes we know today.
Shot in haunting black and white, the pictures shook readers to their cores. There was nothing especially graphic or grotesque in them, but the stifling unhappiness of these people’s lives was nearly tangible. LIFE challenged readers to picture their own parents or grandparents “stored away like vegetables,” reminding the young that a similar fate awaited them, too.
Then the editors went beyond merely showcasing the problem. They called for action and solutions. Looking back, we might consider it one of the many impetuses for Medicare and Medicaid. Indeed, in a new retrospective on the original photo essay, TIME/LIFE credits Medicare with much of the change we’ve seen since then.
Unfortunately, Medicare and Medicaid still don’t solve all of senior’s problems, and securing their benefits can prove entirely too difficult. In my office, I work with the elderly and their families every day to ensure that their own senior-care experience paints a much better picture. With the right strategies and plans in place, there is no reason that today’s elderly can’t enjoy extremely happy and fulfilling lives throughout old age.
If you’d like to look back into the past, you can view many of the 1959 photos on the TIME/LIFE website. Meanwhile, if you’d like some help with your own senior care planning here in the present day, please feel free to give me a call. I’m here to help.