The Livens Law Firm

Many considerations go into elder law planning for a loved one

According to one specialist on the subject, long-term care in this country has become convoluted and in need of a legal overhaul. Because of the levels of uncertainty built into the system, elder law planning in Texas and elsewhere must take place as early as possible. As previously mentioned, it can be decisively important to have discussions and family meetings with the elderly loved one regarding desirable options.

One of the problems is that it may be necessary for an individual or a couple to spend down their assets well in advance of any period of future disability or incompetence. Somehow, we've inherited a system that demands poverty, so that Medicaid can step in and finance long-term care. Irrevocable trusts and other directed spending can be useful in preserving assets for beneficiaries while becoming positioned for later government aid.

Long-term insurance can be a better option, but it may be unmanageable financially for many elderly persons. Furthermore, many persons are choosing to live more intensely in their final years, rather than sacrificing their remaining cash reserves to the demanding alter of long-term care insurance. It's true that government leaders at one time tried to put long-term care into the Affordable Care Act, which may have been the best way to approach the problem.

However, government leaders could not agree on something so controversial, and the measure was cut. Thus, the mangled system now in place will be around for a while. Under any system, things like powers of attorney, health care directives, living trusts, and other basic planning tools will remain the centerpiece of elder law planning.

Having a Texas elder law attorney assist the family through the planning process can be a big plus. It can provide extra peace of mind during those years when life seems less controllable than ever before. That approach will pay dividends in having all of the bases covered and being more fully prepared with all of the necessary legalities in place.

Source: buffalonews.com, "Elder law attorney learned a lot from her parents' last years", Scott Scanlon, Jan. 10, 2015

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