When Should You Consult an Elder Law Attorney?
May 31st, 2022 in FAQs Categories: Elder Law
Uncertainty regarding life after 50 can rob you of your peace and much-needed sleep. You could be driving and get bombarded with thoughts about your hard-earned savings, your children, your spouse, and long-term care. This is why it’s important to think about Elder Law Attorney Timeline.
Every parent wants to leave something valuable for their children. However, failure to plan can make them a burden to their kids. If you have considered planning for the road ahead, an estate planning attorney in Raleigh would be necessary.
How Can I Do My Estate Planning?
A skillful Raleigh elder planning lawyer will give you insights on how estate planning works and what should be included in your plan. However, it does not mean that you do it yourself because you are likely to make costly mistakes. Note that you will need a court proceeding to “re-do” the estate planning, which can cost you more than it would have to get the right help.
It is also essential to research the subject matter instead of leaving your fate to the attorney. Being familiar with the fundamentals of elder law allows you to ask questions and feel part of the estate planning process. Remember to hire a lawyer who has specialized in this area of practice and is certified in estate planning and elder law.
What is Elder Law Estate Planning in North Carolina Like?
Typical estate planning usually focuses on concerns like, “How can I avoid probate?” or “What happens if I die?” But boomers or seniors thinking about their second half of life have a different perspective on estate planning. The worry might be:
- What happens if I don’t die?
- What if I live long, have to deal with an illness, and need care?
- How will I get the care?
- How will I afford the care?
- Will my family be okay?
While there is no substitute for the experience of a Raleigh elder law attorney, the North Carolina Elder and Estate Planning can offer valuable guidance. The right plan can protect you and your loved ones from the devastating costs of elderly care. It should incorporate key financial considerations, “powerful” powers of attorney, Medicaid rules, testamentary planning, trust law, and tax-saving strategies.
Is it Too Late to Plan if I Already Need Nursing Home Care?
“Too late to plan” only applies when you have nothing left to protect. But if you start estate planning early, you can save more of your assets. You have probably heard the misconception that Medicaid can only help the elderly after they have spent all their savings and remained with only $2,000.
The truth is that you can protect most, if not all, of your real estate and about half your savings. You simply need an experienced attorney specializing in estate planning and elder law. Medicaid’s plan could be that you spend all you have and live with less than a dollar a day. But that doesn’t have to happen if you make a better plan for yourself.
What Happens When My Spouse is in a Nursing Home, and I’m at Home?
In such situations, the Medicaid office will probably tell you to spend half or more of your assets on your spouse’s nursing home care. It wouldn’t be possible to keep up with your household expenses if you follow the advice. A Raleigh elder planning lawyer can help you rearrange your assets to protect your retirement savings, investments, and bank accounts.
You can move most –less $2,000 – of your spouse’s share of the savings to a specific insurance contract that converts it from a countable asset to a stream of income. This makes them eligible for Medicaid immediately. It may take a while for the approval of their application, but their eligibility will begin from the day the assets were rearranged.
Can the Death of a Spouse Not on Medicaid Affect the Spouse on Medicaid?
If one’s spouse is on Medicaid, it is critical to alter the will to suit the situation. Most couples have their spouse as the beneficiary of the assets if something fatal happens. But the problem is that their partner might be kicked out of Medicaid if they inherit their savings and investment. They will only get reapproved after they have exhausted the assets.
The ideal way to protect your spouse’s future is to embrace the most appropriate plan. They ought to avoid the “Sweetheart Will” and utilize the special testamentary spousal trust in their will. The couple’s children can manage the trust, with the other spouse as one of the beneficiaries. However, the investment will not be a countable asset that can affect Medicaid.
How Far Ahead Should I Start Planning?
Planning should start when you are a vigorous and healthy senior or boomer. Besides, you will qualify for more options at this stage. Do not forget to carve part of your savings for long-term care, but here are ways to plan for it:
Medicare: You’ll utilize it briefly and only for nursing home care.
VA Benefits: It takes care of veterans that served actively at war. One qualifies if they meet the asset and income limits. It covers assisted living care, at-home care and supplements existing income as well.
Long-term Care Insurance: This can be a great way to afford medical care at home and avoid cashing in on IRAs when you need care.
Medicaid: This needs you to plan ahead if you want to qualify for it in your lifetime. You can use it about five years after transferring assets.
Legal Experts Helping Families Plan for the Unexpected
If you are overwhelmed with questions about your ability to take care of yourself as a senior citizen or the older adult in your life, a specialized attorney can help. Our attorneys can address all your concerns like veteran care, insurance, costs of senior care, and asset protection.
It would be beneficial if you started planning early. But if you didn’t prepare in advance, it is not too late. The elder planning attorneys at NC Planning have all the answers. Call (919) 900–4720 to get started with a free strategy session today.