Charlottesville Long Term Care Attorneys
As you consider the many facets of the estate planning process, it is important not to overlook the crucial role that long term care planning plays. Elder law, or long term care planning, focuses primarily on the needs of families and individuals as they age. This may include issues regarding senior housing and home care; long-term, assisted living, or nursing home care; guardianships and conservatorships; healthcare documents; and eligibility for government programs like Medicare and Medicaid.
Many of us are confronted with not only our own aging process but the aging-related dilemmas facing our parents or other family members. Certain events, such as the death of a spouse or a sudden injury or illness, can trigger the need to move or usher in an increased need for medical attention. When these changes require a move to a down-sized home, a senior community, an assisted living center, nursing home, or a long-term care facility, careful planning can reduce stress, protect your assets, and ensure you or your loved one is financially able to receive the best care possible.
The key to long-term care planning is planning. Sounds simple enough, but by acting early, you can peruse the available options and structure a plan that will most effectively accomplish the goals you have developed for your own long-term care or that of your loved ones.
Effective long-term care planning utilizes a host of tools, including wills, trusts, powers of attorney, health care directives, and living wills, and examines the availability of Medicaid and Veterans Affairs benefits. For example,
- Preparing Advance Medical Directives, sometimes known as a Living Will, will clearly state what medical treatments and intervention you wish , or do not wish, to receive if you become unable to make those decisions for yourself;
- Preparing a Power of Attorney will identify the person you trust to make decisions for you if you become unable to do so;
- Exploring your options under Medicaid will allow you understand whether you can qualify for benefits and, if so, to apply for them;
- Planning for Medicaid may allow you to become eligible for government assistance without forfeiting your estate; and
- Preparing a thorough Estate Plan in the forms of wills, trusts, or other arrangements will specifically direct where your assets are to go upon your death.
Improper long term care planning can have disastrous consequences. For instance, failing to comply with applicable tax laws, such as income tax, gift tax, and any estate taxes, can result in significant tax liability. In addition, failure to properly plan for government benefits in light of your estate could forfeit your right to government assistance or require you to liquidate your assets to pay for your medical care in your advanced years.
If you are currently in good health, you may find it difficult to imagine and envision that there may come a day when your health significantly declines and your decision-making skills are impaired. By planning for those situations now, you can ensure your family is informed about your wishes and does not have to make hard choices due to financial stress.
The long term care planning attorneys at MartinWren, P.C. can help protect you, your family, and your assets if you ever need to pay for long-term care. Contact G. Raye Jones or Gregory M. Johnson today at (434) 817-3100 to speak with an experienced and skilled Elder Law attorney. Drawing on our years of experience and broad base of legal expertise, we will listen to your concerns and help you structure an appropriate long-term care plan.