Managed Care at Home Becoming a Common Form of Long Term Care

The long-term care landscape for Medicaid is changing quickly and this may cause us to consider as a society how to reconsider the way that we get personal assistance as we age or become disabled. Nearly half of all states in the country are currently provided long-term care benefits through Medicaid as managed care, and in fact a further 13 states are requiring that older adults receive care in this same way. Four out of five states in the country are expanding their home care benefits through Medicaid and others are even beginning to provide housing services through the federal program as well.  long-term care at home

Since 1965, when Medicaid was first enacted, nursing homes were considered to be the primary place where long-term care benefits were delivered. However, this has shifted gradually towards the home and community assistance for many reasons including the fact that federal waivers programs gave states the flexibility they needed to make it a reality. A Supreme Court decision at one point required it and consumers demanded it.

More recently, the federal government allowed states to provide this care at some assisted living facilities. The trend towards home based care mostly affects those individuals who are recipients of Medicaid. The accelerated shift to managed care will have bigger consequences for all adults. Being able to get the help necessary in your own home as you age raises important questions. It is critical to have the estate planning documents that you will need to transition to this phase successfully, including your will, any trusts and then any powers of attorney that allow another individual to step in and make decisions on your behalf.

The Most Fundamental Error You Can Make in the Estate Planning Process

Far too many studies show that Americans who are most in need of estate planning have done absolutely nothing to protect themselves. Some of the most common estate planning mistakes can have a significant impact not just on you but also on your beneficiaries when you pass away.

Here are the most common mistakes you can make:

  • Failing to update you will. Many people believe that their will is a ‘set it and forget it’ document, but if you get divorced or have any other major life changes, your will needs to be updated.
  • Not having a will. Up to 64% of people living in the United States do not have a will at all. Many believe that they just haven’t gotten around to it or that they didn’t need one, both of which can be catastrophic mistakes.
  • Overlooking the benefits of a trust. Wills only account for how your property will be distributed when you pass away but trusts go on for a set period governing the distribution of those assets. They can also provide greater control and privacy.
  • Not being realistic about your heirs. Make sure you consider whether or not your beneficiaries have the emotional and financial capacity to handle money appropriately.
  • Choosing the wrong trustee or executor. Choosing the individuals who will help step in and make decisions for you or to assist your family when you pass away can be extremely important. Make sure that the individuals that you have chosen understand the responsibility and are willing to accept it. You may also need to appoint contingency people to serve in this role in the event that the person you originally selected passes away.

The Benefits of In-Home Care for Seniors When Compared with Nursing Homes

As you or your elderly parents age, there will frequently come a time when a new level of care becomes important. This is the appropriate time to consider how Medicaid can help assist with your financial planning but it is also time to consider whether or not it makes sense to have in-home care or to consider a nursing home for your loved one. When such a change becomes necessary, you need to be able to evaluate all of your options quickly. Aging at home is one common alternative to nursing homes.

Geriatric facilities are moving away these days from providing long-term care beds to increasing the number of rehabilitative beds they offer instead. Since Medicare pays $500-$600 per day for a rehabilitative bed, while Medicaid only pay $125 a day for a long-term care event, this means that there is decline in the availability of long-term care beds, making it harder to find a space in an affordable and high-quality facility around the country. In-home care may be one solution that your family is eligible to use.

Home care options are much less expensive than a permanent facility and allow an individual to age in place and get the help that he or she needs in the comfort of their own surroundings. Finding the right person to provide in-home care is critical. Increased access to necessary services, better feelings of independence and cost savings are just a couple of the reasons why you and your family members may consider in-home care versus a permanent nursing home placement. Make sure to do your research about the provider for in-home care to feel confident about your final decision. This can help put you at ease regarding a great deal of the fears associated with helping a loved one transition into a new phase in their life.

Planning for Better Health and Retirement

 

If you are not saving enough for your retirement, then you might want to consider adjusting your health and exercise habits to allow you to work longer. A new study from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies identified that 39% of people globally who retired earlier than they expected, 29% of them did so for health-related reasons. In the United States alone, 61% of retirees left their jobs sooner than planned and this was the highest rate around the world.

A person in poor health was more likely to plan to work to age 70 or beyond and never retire when compared with those in excellent health. Although there is no guarantee that you’ll be able to work for as long as you intend to make up for retirement savings shortfalls, keeping yourself healthy is one of the best bets for continued employment. This certainly gives you the most opportunities to determine how long you wish to stay in the workplace. Only 58% of the respondents in this survey reported eating healthily and just over half reported avoiding negative behaviors like smoking or drinking too much.

You can reap numerous benefits for maintaining good health in the decades that are leading up to retirement. Taking care of yourself reduces your healthcare expenses and allows you to invest this in retirement to make up for a savings shortfall, and your retirement healthcare costs will be decreased. Consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney is strongly recommended if you are approaching retirement.

Asset Protection Planning Beyond the Traditional Trust

 

Most people who understand the basics of asset protection probably have a revocable trust that can be easily changed and will eliminate the need for probate or naming a guardian in the event that you become incapacitated or pass away. However, leaving this as your primary mode of asset protection is risky. This type of trust does not necessarily offer any additional protection against your creditors over the course of your life or after it. This critical lack of protection could make a big difference if you suddenly need money for long term care and you could be exposing your non-liquid assets to significant risk.  

Given that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services identified that the average cost of long-term care is $138,000 per individual and that 50% of people in the United States will need assistance to meet their long-term care goals after age 65, it’s important to take a long-range view of asset protection as well. Just one negative asset protection event could jeopardize the entire structure of decades of financial planning.

Thinking ahead often requires the insight of an experienced professional like a knowledgeable asset protection planning attorney. With so many things to think about, you don’t want to be caught unaware when it comes to your financial decisions. Just one lawsuit could jeopardize what you have worked so hard to build.

Proper asset protection planning and business planning is the next crucial step for helping families adjust for the rising costs of long-term care. Remember that it can take years for asset protection planning to be effective so it’s a process you need to engage with early and after consulting with a knowledgeable lawyer about.

New Aging in America Study Results

 

A new study has analyzed data on aging in the U.S. and how people nearing retirement feel about it overall. Plenty of government data indicates that there are two key factors influencing the aging population in America: longevity and the rising cost of healthcare. For anyone nearing retirement age, it’s important to consider how the assets you have set aside can help you accomplish your retirement planning goals and assist you through a long and healthy life. 

This most recent study, completed by Felician University, explored how college students feel about their own aging. This is a unique perspective that has not often been covered in previous research. Typically, projects focus on those nearing retirement age or those who have passed it. Understanding the perspectives of younger people, though, highlights the value of long-term views with it comes to issues like investing, asset protection, and estate planning.

Most of the students in the study felt that they believed they would need assistance with activities of daily living after age 85, but that they hoped to have enough money to continue living independently even past that point. Most study respondents indicated that they knew they would need help planning financially for their elderly years, but that they didn’t know at what age that would become appropriate.

The findings of this study highlight a key point: those with the most potential to begin working now towards their long-term goals have no idea where to start. This makes it all too easy to put off retirement planning or estate planning until your options are more limited down the line. Planning now instead puts you in the driver’s seat for your future goals.

 

 

 

No Heirs? You Still Need to Plan an Estate

Not having any direct heirs might seem like an easy out when it comes to estate planning, but skipping over this process could be a big mistake. Make sure you’ve taken the opportunity to sit down with an experienced estate planning lawyer to talk through all the options. You may be able to make use of assets inside your estate to benefit charities or others, but talking with a lawyer can help you understand your choices. estate planning without heirs

Most people assume that if they don’t have a substantial amount in savings then they don’t need to worry about estate planning. What about your 401(k)? Or your life insurance policy? These items may already be in place but could require that you name someone to get these benefits when you pass away. These items pass away outside of your typical estate plan, so you need to have an awareness about who you name as beneficiary and whether that will change over time.

The right estate planning attorney can tell you more about philanthropic options if you wish to get involved in giving some of your assets to charity. Setting up plans in advance allows you to leave as much as possible to your other loved ones if you wish or to a charity. Without planning, the courts will take matters into their discretion when deciding what happens to your belongings and assets after you pass away. Even if you think you don’t have any heirs, you probably still want to exercise some control over your estate plan. Don’t wait to find out how you can pass on assets and gifts to others while you’re still alive or after you pass away.

Could Partnership Income Tax Rules Help with Your Estate Planning?

It’s no surprise to anyone who has engaged in the estate planning process already that there are plenty of strategies out there to help you accomplish your planning goals while also passing on as much wealth to the next generation as possible. Many of these tools, though, could still be subject to generation-skipping taxes or other measures Congress has put in place. One novel strategy that could help minimize taxes is by granting a family member partnership interests in a family business.

The most common way to think about estate planning without using this tool involves reducing the values of assets that will be included in an estate in order to pass on the future appreciation to the next generation taking control of that asset. This is usually done with tools like intentionally defective grantor trusts, grantor retained annuity trusts, or qualified personal residence trusts. While all of these certainly have their place, each does come with some disadvantages that could compromise your ability to accomplish estate planning goals. 

Partnership income tax law provisions, however, could be the solution you’ve been searching for. A family business already taxed as a partnership, for example, could help accomplish estate planning goals successfully. You can reallocate portions of income and use transfer of appreciation or current value without having to tap into any lifetime or annual exclusions. Even better, this can help you avoid the negative implications of a generation-skipping transfer tax. There are a lot of complex strategies that can help high net worth families, but these should always be evaluated carefully by an experienced estate planning lawyer due to their complexity. All of the details really matter when it comes to strategies like this.

When looking for estate planning solutions, it’s good to have an eye towards strategies that help you accomplish multiple goals at once. The right estate planning lawyer can play a critical role in helping you identify these.

 

Estate Planning Strategies You Can Still Consider While Waiting for Tax Reform

It is not yet clear how Congress will take action with regard to estate tax reform. It is extremely probable that estate tax reform will happen in the next two years, but it is currently no more than speculation to determine how this might influence your individual life. 

However, there are ten strategies that you can consider with your overall estate planning while waiting for Congress to take action. These include:

  •      Annual exclusion gifts.
  •      Estate freeze installment sales.
  •      Short term GRATs.
  •      Lifetime exemption gifts.
  •      Family limited partnerships.
  •      Flexibility in your core planning documents.
  •      Community property trusts.
  •      Philanthropic planning.

Although the future may remain unclear, it is important to take control of your own individual future and determine the goals and intentions that you have for your estate. It is imperative to think not just about what will happen to assets when you pass away, but also the plans you have in place to protect you and your loved ones if you were to suddenly become incapacitated. Many people ignore this process altogether and realize the serious consequences of failing to act all too late. Suddenly suffering an incapacitating event that renders you unable to make decisions for yourself can lead to legal challenges and emotional issues for your loved ones.

Protecting Your Retirement Accounts from Dementia

 

 

Advanced directives, trust agreements and durable powers of attorney are all used to help clients on a regular basis when that client is approaching older ages. One additional step that often needs to be taken is considering a potential decline in your cognitive abilities. Running out of money is frequently at the top of the list for any elderly individual when it comes to what concerns them the most.

Living off of the interest put inside a CD is no longer a viable option given health care concerns and longevity in the United States. Sometimes clients are forced into riskier investments with the hope of better returns as a result. Individuals must remain knowledgeable about keeping an eye on all of their retirement accounts to guard against risks as well as to have a contingency plan for an unexpected problem that could have a devastating impact on their retirement account. Your account is at a much higher risk if you are not paying attention to the potential damage you’re exposing yourself to as a result of a future decline in your mental health. While everyone hopes to live a long and healthy life, it is not always possible to anticipate a sudden disability or cognitive decline.

Large financial institutions in recent years have recognized the desire held by elderly individuals to have better interest rates and have thus created plans that will guard against market losses but would still give an opportunity for higher returns with very little risks to the principle. This is one of the best ways to protect your retirement investments from a dementia event in the future.

Talking to an estate planning lawyer can help you figure out the best way to protect the investments you have worked so hard to grow over the course of your life. There’s a great deal of importance in the planning process, so don’t hesitate to get the help you need.