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The Goal Of Elder Care Planning In Texas

The Goal Of Elder Care Planning In Texas

The following article will cover:

  • The benefits of elder care planning.
  • The cost of long-term care or nursing home care, its affordability, and the average person's ability to pay out of pocket.
  • The essential planning documents you will need to plan for long-term care.

What Should Be The Goal Of Elder Care Planning?

The aim of elder care planning should encompass:

  • Getting Peace of Mind: A comprehensive plan can offer seniors the best possible quality of life, comfort, respect, and enjoyment in their twilight years.
  • Avoiding Guardianship: Powers of attorney and other vital documents can prevent the need for guardianship before it’s ever necessary.
  • Protecting Individual Desires: A strong estate plan allows people to address everything from end-of-life choices to asset distribution.
  • Asset Preservation: By planning ahead, you can safeguard assets for both the elder's benefit and the benefit of their heirs.
  • Choosing Your Long-Term Care Options: Delve into potential solutions for prolonged care by working with an attorney who can tailor a plan that ensures access to the best care situation available to you.
  • Setting Up a Strategy for Medical Care: You can craft a detailed plan concerning treatments, medications, and foreseeable long-term care requirements.

How Much Does Long-Term Care Or Nursing Home Care Cost? Can The Average Person Afford To Pay Out Of Pocket?

The cost of elder care ranges from approximately $6,500 to $10,000 per month. Given these costs, most people struggle to cover the bills out-of-pocket.

What Are The Core Planning Documents Essential For Every Long-Term Care Plan?

The following core planning documents are considered essential for every long-term care plan:

  • Will
  • Revocable living trust
  • Durable power of attorney
  • Medical power of attorney
  • Living will or advanced directive to physicians
  • HIPAA authorization
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Funeral instructions
  • Detailed long-term care plan
  • Financial inventory

How Do You Qualify For Medicaid To Help Cover Long-Term Care Costs?

In order to qualify for Medicaid to help cover long-term care costs, you must:

  • Be a state resident and a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or legal alien.
  • Have a medical necessity for long-term care, i.e., needing assistance with multiple daily tasks like bathing or eating.
  • Meet income limits set around the Federal Poverty Level. Exceeding these might lead to disqualification unless one can leverage qualified deductions.
  • Medicaid will also consider individual assets. This often includes cash, stocks, bonds, and non-primary-residence real estate. The asset limit is updated annually.

Is It Possible To Preserve Resources If A Loved One Is Already In A Nursing Home?

Medicaid will scrutinize any transfer of assets made in the previous 60 months (5 years) before the application. This is called the “look-back” period. There might be penalties if assets were given away or sold for less than fair market value.

When Is The Ideal Time To Consult A Long Term Care Or Elder Law Planning Attorney? Is It Ever Too Premature Or Too Late?

Proactivity is key when it comes to elder care planning. Ideally, it's best to start strategizing in one's mid to late 50s, early 60s, or even earlier, before serious health or cognitive issues emerge. Though early planning is optimal, it's rarely "too late". Even with a family member in a nursing home, we can offer advice on asset protection, Medicaid eligibility, and elder rights advocacy.

How And When Should One Apply For Medicaid?

If you believe you align with the criteria for Medicaid eligibility, the best time to apply is:

  • Before you require long-term care.
  • After s substantial change in health, finances, or family situations (such as the death of a spouse).

It’s important to remember that every situation is unique. For example, people in certain scenarios might find it necessary to "spend down" excess assets before applying for Medicaid benefits. If you have any questions about the Medicaid process, consulting with an attorney is a great first step.

What Are The Most Common Mistakes In Elder Care Planning?

Some prevalent mistakes include:

  • Delaying the planning process.
  • Misinterpreting Medicaid regulations.
  • Incorrectly transferring assets.
  • Not updating legal documentation.
  • Overlooking planning for incapacity or long-term care expenses.

Engaging in consistent discussions facilitated by an attorney is the best way to make sure that there is a strong alignment between the client and their family, which aids in avoiding these pitfalls. For more information on The Goal Of Elder Care Planning In Texas, an initial consultation is your next best step.

Aurelio Garza, Esq. - Estate Planning Lawyer - McAllen, TX

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