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Posts Tagged ‘Asset Protection’

The costs of long-term care continue to rise.  The average cost of one month in a nursing home, according to the State of Michigan, is now at $6816 per month or almost $82,000 per year.  The hourly cost of home care is $20 or more per hour.  This is more than most people can afford.  A recent Harvard study noted that 69% of single individuals and 34% of married couples would use up their life’s savings after paying for a nursing home for less than a year.  In addition, these same individuals also cannot afford the high cost of long-term care insurance.

Therefore, getting funding to pay for the high cost of long term care is very important.  The government program that provides help in paying for the cost of long-term care is Medicaid.  Unfortunately, the government has very strict rules about assets that must be met before it will pay for these high costs.  The rules are very different depending upon whether the person is pre-planning or crisis planning. (more…)

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It is good news that those who served during wartime may be eligible for an “Aid and Attendance” pension to help pay for long-term care at home or in an adult-foster care or assisted living center.  This pension can pay between one thousand and two thousand dollars a month to help cover care costs.  That supplement has been a help to thousands who would not be able to stay out of a nursing home without it.

In addition, at Heritage Elder Law & Planning, PC, we have found that those who do qualify for the Veterans pension have a distinct advantage when it comes to long-term care overall.  This is true because in spite of heroic efforts, approximately seventy-five percent of those getting assisted living care will end up needing nursing home care at some point.  Therefore, planning for the nursing home is essential even for those who will qualify for the Veterans Aid & Attendance pension. (more…)

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It is not uncommon to have family members provide care for their aging parents or relatives.  This is understandable when one considers that most people would be more comfortable with their own family than with a stranger providing assistance with their activities of daily living. In fact, according to a recent study, about 21% of the population provides such family care.  These generous persons provide an average of 21 hours per week over a period of 4.5 years.

One problem with this approach, however, is that family caregivers are often forced to cut back on their employment or even quit their jobs in order to provide for their parents.  Especially in a difficult economy this can create financial hardship for the caregiver and that person’s immediate family.  Hence, many persons ask if there are any government programs that will pay family caregivers to provide care for their loved ones. (more…)

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With all of the constant changes in the Medicaid laws, seniors and their families need to keep up-to-date to make sure their care needs are provided for.  In this post I hope to highlight some of the important recent changes:

1.   Estate Recovery – While the estate recovery law that permits the state to “take” the home was passed in September of 2007, the law is not currently being enforced.  However, the state is working with the federal government to find a version that will be approved by the federal government.  Apparently Lansing is working on some additional legislation.  When that passes and is approved it can be applied for care costs dating retroactively back to September of 2007. (more…)

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In today’s day and age advances in medicine have permitted us to extend and preserve life more than ever before.  However, for most that means that there is a period of time — especially as we age — when we will live with a disability.  Thus, there needs to be a way of appointing someone to help us with legal and financial decisions when we are not able.  This is especially important when long-term care costs threaten to drain an estate that could be saved with the proper grant of authority.   

A “power of attorney” is the most common way of appointing someone to help with important legal and financial decisions.  It is a written document wherein one can appoint someone to handle some or all of their legal and financial affairs.  The document is based on agency law.  You (the one appointing) are called the “principal” and the one appointed is called the “agent”.   (more…)

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As days of retirement approach, health problems often become a concern. Inevitable issues such as stroke, heart disease and cognitive impairment can mean a whole new way of life. 

Even after working long and hard to acquire resources for your retirement, there are more steps to be taken. It has become necessary to insure your funds so that the hard-earned money will still be there when you need it most.

 Many mistakenly believe that government programs such as Medicare or Medicaid will cover the costs of long-term care. Medicare will cover some skilled nursing for a limited period (100 days, if you are responding to treatment).  Medicaid will only cover long-term care costs for impoverished individuals or those who have implemented proper legal strategies. Health insurance does not cover nursing home or other long-term costs except for short-term rehabilitation. When age-related problems call for long term care such as a nursing home stay or assisted living, the out of pocket costs involved (currently over $6000 per month in Michigan) are sure to speedily drain retirement funds and leave the remaining healthy spouse in poverty. (more…)

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According to a recent study, when asked about their most important concerns for the future the elderly are most fearful about:

1) Remaining independent in their homes without intervention from others;

2) Maintaining good health and receiving adequate health care;

3) Having enough money for everyday needs and not outliving assets and income.

While the elderly are certainly concerned about long-term care disability and the resulting catastrophic needs, those items are not ranked at the top of the list. What most seniors don’t realize is that in order to achieve the three top goals listed above one generally needs to plan ahead. Unfortunately, this does not appear to be happening.

Currently, long-term care costs are running, on an average, about $6500 per month (The MetLife Market Survey of Nursing Home & Assisted Living Costs, October, 2007). At that rate, most persons’ savings will be depleted in less than an average stay in a nursing home (2.5 years). Thus, an extended disability that requires long-term care is probably the most catastrophic event that could happen. It can make it impossible for a senior citizen to achieve the three goals mentioned above, destroying any hope for a secure future. For example, with the need for long-term care the older person: a) Loses independence b) Has experienced a loss of good health c) Uses up remaining assets and income. (more…)

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