Justin, Heading into 2021, I haven’t been able spend as much time with my parents as I would have liked this last year, and I’m seeing things that make me worry they are going to need long-term care sooner rather than later. Any advice on what we should be doing right now to be ready? – June
June, Happy New Year to you! The timing of your question couldn’t be better with the new year right around the corner. Although every situation is different, I do have a few general tips to get you pointed in the right direction.
First, it is essential that they have solid estate planning documents in place before the need for long-term care arises. This includes the need for good power of attorney documents and a full set of healthcare documents, including a healthcare power of attorney, a medical records release, and a living will. It might also include some documents specifically designed to help them avoid probate court should they pass before the need for long-term care arises.
Second, if it seems like there’s still time, we might consider retitling some assets now to protect them from future long-term care costs, but we need to be careful here. Look back rules and gifting penalties can cause trouble if you retitle assets too close to the time of application for benefits. You should work with experienced counsel if you go this direction.
Third, keep in mind that you don’t have to go it alone! Even if seems too late to retitle assets given the look back rules I mentioned, there are many things we can do at the time of need – even when long-term care is right around the corner – to protect income and assets. In most cases, the worst thing you can do is just start down the private pay route and watch them run out of money. Check out my book, You Need A Plan, at ElrodFirm.com to learn more, and give us a call for a free strategy session!