Elder Law is a specialized focus on representing, counseling, and assisting both seniors and their families with the many legal issues that begin cropping up as we age. The primary emphasis of Elder Law is on promoting the highest quality of life for clients and families.
We have found that many families do not consider, are quite unprepared to step in when an aging parent suddenly crosses the threshold from pure independence to needing some assistance. Most families ever talk about the potential future need for assistance or long-term care. Because of this, everyone assumes everything is fine… until suddenly it isn’t. If not prepared, a need for assistance or long-term care impacts the time and financial resources of not only the loved-one in need, but also all those family members who are able to step in to help.
Who Makes Medical Decisions?
When a medical emergency occurs the right people need to have the right legal authority to make healthcare decisions for you. It is even better if you have given them a bit of prior guidance and instruction on how you would make decisions if you could.
The Vital bare minimum needed for medical emergencies include: a valid Durable Healthcare Power of Attorney that is less than five (5) years old; a Healthcare Directive (Living Will); and a proper HIPAA Authorization to authorize medical professionals to talk to your people. We also help our clients create a Health Care Letter of Instruction that shares how they would make decisions if they were able. Our clients tell us that this Health Care Letter of Instruction soothes the anxiety the feel to “make the right decision”.
Paying for Long-Term Care Most people don’t want to think about needing Long-Term Care. That happens to others, but will not happen to them. The truth is that most of us, at some point in our life, will need some level of assistance from someone else. Whether at home or in a residence community, long-term care is expensive… and increase every year
According to Genworth Financial’s an annual Cost of Care Survey, the national average cost of Assisted Living for 2018 is $48,000 per year, and for private room Nursing Home care over $100,000 per year. In reality, our clients find that these costs are quite a bit higher.Without prior planning and some sort of financial assistance long-term care costs are financially devastating to those needing care, and their children and families as well.
Personal Savings, Long-Term Care Insurance, Veteran Pension Benefits, and Medicaid are all methods to pay for long-term care costs. People usually consider Medicaid to be the worst-case last-resort after they have spent all of their money. But proper planning should include Medicaid a tool that can protect, preserve their money while unlocking full Medicaid benefits at a time of their choosing.
Not Waiting too Long Because we naturally avoid uncomfortable thoughts and conversations and procrastinate taking action about things we hope will never happen, many people find themselves in crisis without the proper authority or sufficient cash. The unprepared family will spend a substantially more time and money, and will experience unnecessarily higher levels of stress and frustration if they are required to go to Probate Court to obtain financial and medical authority. Financially, with too little resources and no plan, Medicaid may quickly become your only option, but on the State’s terms not yours.
We have helped many families plan to keep control as they enter the long-term care phase of their life. We have also helped many families who have come to us in crisis. In our and our clients’ experience, the time and money you will spend to protect yourself and your assets before crisis hits will be many times less the cost of waiting too long.