The costs of long-term care are rising at a rate that particularly affects middle class seniors. The majority of seniors will require extended care in some form. Unfortunately, most of them are not prepared to deal with the extremely high costs and financial burdens that come with it. Financial hardship becomes a devastating possibility with care rates costing as much or more than $10,000 per month. Thankfully, our compassionate and dedicated estate planning attorneys are here to help. A St. Charles County Elder Law and Medicaid Planning lawyer could take the lead in making sure that your loved ones receive the attention they deserve.
Our experienced lawyers can also discuss trusts, asset preservation, powers of attorney, guardianship, Medicaid rules, advanced directives, and conservatorship with a senior citizen who needs to plan for their future. Our practice’s goal is to ensure your plans for long-term care and the disposition of your estate are in order, so do not hesitate to get started today.
Protecting Elders Through Guardianship or Conservatorship
When senior citizens can no longer make their own decisions due to physical or mental issues, it is key to remember that a guardian or conservator can be appointed to make decisions and protect them from fraud and coercion. A guardian is concerned with the elder person’s daily life, such as medical care, housing choices, friends, and associates. Meanwhile, a conservator handles a person’s finances and other assets.
After a loved one or family member files a petition for a conservatorship or guardianship for their elder relative, a probate court will conduct a hearing to determine the extent of the subject’s needs. The Court can appoint both a guardian and conservator – these people are regularly monitored by the court and need to act in the elder subject’s best interests. A compassionate attorney in St. Charles County could help a family file the documents necessary to obtain protection for their elder loved one.
The Importance of Wills and Trusts for Elders
Wills and trusts are two crucial estate planning documents that might be crucial in planning for an elder’s future. A Last Will and Testament informs the probate court about who the decedent wants to administer their assets and who will inherit the properties, while a revocable trust is a way for a person to administer assets prior to death and transfer them safely.
Other types of trusts that a senior citizen might consider include irrevocable trusts and irrevocable Medicaid asset protection trusts. If an elder individual needs help determining which of these documents might be best for keeping their estate plan on track, a knowledgeable St. Charles County attorney could offer guidance tailored to the situation.
Powers of Attorney for an Incapacitated Senior
Powers of attorney are important legal frameworks that name who can make healthcare and financial decisions for a subject if this person becomes temporarily or permanently incapacitated. These documents can circumvent the need for a guardian or conservator, which might make them perfect for when an elder family member starts to need help. There are a few key kinds of power of attorney documents, as an elder law lawyer in St. Charles County could explain during a consultation.
Financial General Durable Power of Attorney
A general durable power of attorney for finances names an agent or ‘attorney in fact’ to make financial decisions for a senior who becomes incapacitated.
Healthcare Durable Power of Attorney
Meanwhile, a healthcare durable power of attorney permits the named agent to make medical decisions about an elder patient who is not able to communicate what would be best for their health.
Finally, a living will, also called a physician’s directive, communicates a senior patient’s wishes for medical treatment when the condition is terminal. The directive usually focuses on life support and what life-sustaining measures should be used.
Which Seniors are Eligible for Medicaid?
Medicaid was developed as a public benefits program and is designed to provide health care coverage to lower income individuals, including those seniors 65 years of age and older, as well as the disabled and blind. Qualifying for coverage can be difficult. The bureaucracy of qualifying can be overwhelming. There are complex eligibility requirements for those in need, including look-back periods, income caps, penalties for gifts and transfers to family members.
For instance, if a senior’s assets and estate are worth more than a certain threshold, they might not be able to qualify for nursing home treatment under Medicaid. To avoid this, many elder people transfer some of their most valuable assets and properties to other estate planning arrangements like trusts or wills.
When a senior is applying for Medicaid, the person in charge of reviewing their submission will look at the past five years of their financial history. If the elder person did not transfer assets according to rules or move enough property to fall into the income threshold, they might not be able to take advantage of any benefits.
This might sound intimidating, but a dedicated lawyer in St. Charles County could help protect an elder’s entitlement to Medicaid or similar government benefits.
A St. Charles County Elder Law Attorney Could Help Today
The Elder Law Attorneys at Polaris Law Group, LLC are dedicated to helping families navigate the complex waters of long-term care and Medicaid planning. We believe that it is never too early to start planning for one’s eventual needs. When it comes to your health, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. This is also true when planning your estate for the likely need for long term care. That is why we practice Proactive Elder Law Planning as part of making sure families are prepared ahead of time.
The attorneys at Polaris Law Group are experience and qualified estate planning attorneys. We are dedicated to providing proper estate planning advice to families looking to protect current and future generations. We help families in many different locations, so do not hesitate to reach out to a St. Charles County elder law lawyer to get started.