Long Term Care Planning
San Antonio Long Term Care Planning Lawyer
The costs of health care keep escalating as we get older. It’s more than the need for increased doctor visits, medication, and even more than the occasional hospital stay. The costs really start to explode when we require ongoing care in the simple basics of living. Long-term care planning is the strategy aimed at meeting the financial costs incurred by those needs.
A San Antonio long-term care planning lawyer from the Law Office of Paul D. Hardy can work with you on a sound program to protect your assets and finance your medical needs. Call us at (210) 405-1985 or contact us online today.
Assisted living facilities are a common example of long-term health care, but other expenses can arise even as we still live in our homes. What if you need a home health aide to come in for a few hours a day to help with preparing meals and perhaps bathing? Losing the ability to drive is a common part of growing old. Depending on your circumstances, an aide might be needed to take you places.
Here in the San Antonio area, the average cost of a home health aide is $18 per hour. It adds up in a hurry. The person who needs more than someone occasionally looking in on them will see the costs add up even faster. The costs of an assisted living facility in San Antonio average out at about $2,770 per month.
Are you counting on Medicare? There are some expenses associated with long-term care that Medicare may help with, but not the big-ticket items. You might get coverage for some types of in-home care, hospice care, and maybe a short stay at assisted living. But the long-term stay at assisted living? The one that can completely eat up your remaining assets? Medicare will not be there. Nor will traditional private health insurance plans.
Options to Finance Long-term Care Planning
The most straightforward way of paying for long-term health care is to take out insurance specifically designed for these expenses. Most people begin to seek out long-term care insurance (LTC) in their mid-fifties.
If your health is good, this can work. But insurance companies can be as stringent in who they approve LTC for as they can be with life insurance. The person with pre-existing conditions may have a hard time getting a policy approved or finding one that’s affordable.
Another possibility is to take out what’s called “hybrid” LTC insurance policy, one that doubles as an annuity. These are purchased with one lump sum and have the added benefit of allowing you to recoup the annuity, even if you don’t need long-term care.
Medicaid is also an option. But this is not the same as Medicare. The latter is a program that everyone, regardless of income, qualifies for. Medicaid is for those whose income falls below a certain level. There are rules in place that govern what steps people can take to put themselves below the income level
A good Medicaid planning attorney can help advise you on a strategy and perhaps work with you to set up a trust where you pay for the long-term care expenses that you’re able to and allow Medicaid to pick up the rest.
There’s more to long-term care planning than putting the money in place. That’s certainly important, but you also have to decide who is going to make decisions on your behalf if you become mentally incapacitated. This is the person to whom you will grant power of attorney.
Power of attorney functions on two levels–the financial and the medical. You need someone who will manage your money and make important medical decisions, particularly how you want end-of-life issues handled. Naturally, you will want to choose someone who you trust and who shares–or at least respects–your values.
The Law Office of Paul D. Hardy brings respect and compassion to all of our clients who come to us needing to discuss and manage long-term care issues that can be difficult to talk about. We’ll work with you to craft a long-term care plan that protects your assets and your wishes.
Isn’t Estate Planning for People Who Are Rich?
No! The word “estate” can conjure up images of a sprawling yard and luxurious mansion, as though we’re on the set of Downton Abbey. Reality is different. Your estate is simply the money and property you own at the time of your death. Estate planning consists of the various legal mechanisms that are used to ensure your wishes are known and respected, that you get the best possible tax treatment based on your goals and that prudent steps are taken to protect your assets as much as possible in your final years of life.
Can You Avoid Probate With a Will?
A will alone will not be enough for your heirs to avoid going through probate court, with its attendant fees. The way to keep your assets out of probate court is through the establishment of a living trust.
What Happens Without a Will?
When you die without a will, your estate becomes subject to the intestacy laws in the state of Texas. The state seeks to place your assets in the hands of living spouses, children, siblings and parents and has clear guidelines for different family scenarios. The problem is that the law for an entire state is simply not able to anticipate the particular wishes of a deceased person. That’s why it’s strongly advised to put your last will and testament into writing. That way, everyone knows what your wishes are, and courts will be able to enforce it.
What Are the Benefits of a Trust?
Staying out of probate court is just one of the advantages that a living trust can offer. A trust can be structured so as to minimize your tax exposure ,while still allowing you to gift money into it while you’re alive. If you believe the benefits to your beneficiaries are best deferred to a later date or spread out over time, you can appoint a trustee who can administer that after your passing. A trust offers you flexibility and allows your beneficiaries to avoid dealing with probate court .