The prospect of a loved one becoming disabled, incapacitated, or entering into a Long-Term Care (“LTC”) nursing facility is daunting. There are myriad, deeply-complex issues to navigate through to identify and provide the appropriate and compassionate level of care for a spouse or elderly parent in dire circumstances.
SHORTAGES IN CARE FACILITIES AND GERIATRIC PHYSICIANS
In 1988, South Dakota enacted an LTC bed “moratorium,” which caps the number of nursing beds per facility (and overall statewide), creating an artificial barrier to expanding good care to the elderly – or compels families to place loved ones in facilities great distances away.
Additionally, there is a shortage of physicians in our community who specialize in geriatrics, which threatens to jeopardize the health and well-being of an elderly loved one.
Family members – the unsung heroes – often desire to care for a spouse or elderly parent for far too long, beyond what they are reasonably able to do. This results in safety concerns, as well as the decline in the emotional and physical health of both the caregiver and the incapacitated, loved one. Simply stated, there are not enough resources to assist in designing and delivering the best care plan.
WORKING WITH A TEAM OF ADVISERS
As a team, an elder law attorney and a geriatric care consultant (usually a registered nurse) are able to cut through red tape and identify the best solutions:
- When they assess medical conditions,
- Set up long-range care plans and expenditures,
- Advise the family on available LTC facilities and costs,
- Explain and apply for Medicare/Medicaid coverage, and
- Communicate with medical staff.
Using the right combination of legal and medical professionals increases one’s chances of success in securing the best possible care outcomes. Trying to handle these all-important affairs without such professionals can lead to undue burdens. Better to have a team of professionals to guide you and your loved one through the overwhelming challenges and provide a win-win situation!
OTHER IMPORTANT ESTATE PLANNING CONSIDERATIONS
There are other important planning issues that every family needs to address for the utmost protection of their family and estates.
- There are substantial differences between wills and trusts that most people fail to consider or even understand. Worse yet, do-it-yourself and online documents simply give you the tools to commit moral malpractice.
- A properly drafted and up-to-date power of attorney gives your designated decision makers sufficient authority to handle your affairs during incapacity and avoid conservatorship court proceedings. And they can help to avoid spending all your assets to pay for LTC even after you go into nursing home.
- The remarriage of a surviving spouse oftentimes results in a disinheritance of children and beneficiaries of the first spouse to die. Most people don’t even consider this possibility. With proper “remarriage protection,” such inadvertent disinheritance can be completely avoided.
- Outright distributions to children or other beneficiaries are likely to result in losing an inheritance to divorce, creditors, predators, or destructive personal habits. These risks can be minimized by the use of custom-tailored continuing trusts for your beneficiaries.
- There are little-known strategies that afford the most protection to you, your spouse and family against going broke paying for LTC costs; but failing to work with an experienced professional will likely lead to costly penalties.
- Lifetime protection and peace of mind can be achieved if planning occurs on a timely basis. Procrastination is your enemy so get started today.
HELP FOR YOU
There are resources available that families can use to deal with these deeply complex issues. Local workshops by estate planning and elder law professionals, such as Aspen Legacy Planning, are available to pre-qualified individuals addressing the most comprehensive and modern strategies to provide security for you and your family. These workshops are informative, and sign-ups are available now, followed by individualized no-obligation consultations to evaluate your unique estate planning and geriatric care needs and solutions.
Call (605) 610-4016 to register for a FREE workshop on
Wills, Living Trusts, and Geriatric Care Planning
Tuesday, July 10 or Thursday, July 19 starts at 5:30 pm
Seating is Limited