Livens & Reed, PLLC

Long-term care planning is a process best started early

Experts in elder care planning in Texas and elsewhere recommend strongly that families have a conversation with an elderly parent about his or her preferences and desires for long-term care. The talk must take place when the individual has control of his or her faculties and can contribute to the conversation. Early planning for long-term care can ultimately assure financial and emotional stability for all of the concerned family members.

One tough problem is that people tend to put this subject at the bottom of their priorities. That is unfortunate because the truth is that 70 percent of persons over 65 will need some form of long term care services, and the majority are not prepared. Furthermore, people who investigate the facts will find that the contribution of Medicare to long-term care is virtually nil. Additionally, in order to qualify for Medicaid to fund nursing home care, one's assets must be spent down and gifted away years before requesting services.

The complexities of Medicaid planning and the various other strategies that may benefit a family can only be determined in a detailed consultation with the family's elder law attorney. When the family has an idea of the preferences and financial resources available to assist the elderly parent, then a meeting with the attorney and any other advisers is highly recommended. Each situation is, of course, fact intensive, making it advisable to start the process early to allow for enough time to take all necessary measures and put all contingencies into effect.

The main focus for the unprepared individual and his or her children and other family members is to start the dialogue. In this way, the preferences for long-term care can be identified and the practicalities investigated. The family will come to discover what can be done and how to put the wheels in motion to make it happen. The elder law attorney will assist in putting the legal elements in play in accordance with the dictates of Texas law.

Source:, "Don't let long-term care needs spring up on you -- plan ahead", May 14. 2015

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