Elder Law

Long-Term Care Planning is another aspect of estate planning, focusing primarily on the needs of families and individuals as they age. Issues of aging include senior housing and home care, long-term (or nursing home) care, guardianships and health care documents, Medicare and Medicaid.

Long-Term Care Planning

In order to develop a long-term care plan that will actually work, it is vital that we work collaboratively with you, your family, and your advisors to design a long-term care strategy that addresses your specific situation. All of this strategy needs to be done before any preparation of the legal instruments necessary to carry out your long-term care objectives.

The attorneys at Cornerstone Law Services can help you and your family create a plan that may prevent the loss of life savings to long-term care expenses. Often these plans involve the use of trusts, expansive powers of attorney for financial and health care decisions, and other important legal documents.

Our Long-Term Care Planning Process

At Cornerstone Law Services, we have a process that ensures your long-term care planning objectives are met. We begin with a careful review and analysis of your current situation, and then recommend strategies that can meet your long-term care goals.

Long-term care planning services we often provide include:
  • Legal planning for long-term care
  • Medicaid planning
  • Comprehensive estate planning
  • Special needs trusts for loved ones with a disability
  • Disability planning documents
  • Counsel regarding guardianships
Three ways to pay for Long-Term Care
  • Long-Term Care Insurance. If your family member is fortunate enough to have this type of coverage, it may go a long way towards paying the cost of a home health aid, assisted living facility or nursing home. Unfortunately, most people do not have this type of insurance or the coverage is inadequate.
  • Self Pay. Many people are forced to pay for the cost of long-term care out of their own pocket. At the rate of $3,500 to $7,000 per month, savings can be depleted quickly.
  • Medicaid. Medicaid is the largest payer of long-term care services. Medicaid is a federally and state funded needs-based benefit that will provide for various types of long-term care. The rules for coverage and eligibility change frequently. Upon qualification, Medicaid will pay for long-term care in a nursing home and Medicaid-approved prescription medications. Medicaid may also pay for long-term care for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients.
Can you structure your assets so that you qualify for Medicaid?

Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of nursing home residents enter a facility on a private basis and only later turn to the Medicaid program for coverage. Many spend themselves into poverty event though, through appropriate planning, they could have qualified for Medicaid sooner and preserved their assets for their family.

In order to be eligible for Medicaid payment of nursing home bills, the recipient must be a U.S. Citizen or legal U.S. resident alien, meet specific income and resource limits and need nursing home placement and custodial care.

Many people think they will not qualify for Medicaid because they have too many assets or too much income. While the Medicaid rules are complicated, a simple rule is that a person owning over $2,000 of countable assets will not qualify. But don’t make a hasty judgment before learning all the facts! By restructuring your assets and diverting your income to special types of trusts, you may qualify now, or much sooner than you expect. With the help of an experienced attorney, you may be able to transform your assets so that you or a family member may qualify for Medicaid before your need for long-term care arises.

The importance of planning early

Many of the planning strategies that are available for asset protection in long-term care planning work only if the plan has been in place for at least five years. For those who are at the nursing home doorstep, it is not too late to plan at all, but it may be too late to implement all the savings strategies.

No one likes to think about the possibility of their own disability or the disability of a loved one. However, statistics show that everyone should plan for at least a temporary disability. By planning ahead for disability, you will have the comfort of knowing that, if the day comes for you or a loved one, you will be prepared.