You may be aware that Life Care Planning— an extension of Elder Care Law— is an increasingly popular way to plan for the future, but may have questions about when to set it up. The short answer is, sooner rather than later.
What is Life Care Planning?
Traditional elder care law focuses primarily on preserving assets. Life Care Planning uses existing assets to preserve quality of life and independence for as long as possible, in addition to preserving assets to pass on to the next generation.
Obviously estate planning should be done in advance, but bear in mind that Life Care Planning adds another layer of protection requiring time and foresight to ensure.
Medical Care As Needed
When it comes to long term care solutions, one of the key components— and often the biggest financial and logistical challenge any family faces— is getting the necessary and appropriate medical care at the moment it is required.
For most of us, it’s not a question of if, but when, we or a loved one will need specialized, medical care. So how can we make the process less stressful when the time comes? The simple answer is: plan ahead.
The fact is, as the long term medical care industry booms, the number of resources available are numerous, diverse and at times overwhelming.
So when a care decision needs to be made quickly (as is often the case), there is little time to sift through the ever-increasing options for caregivers, facilities and estate planning tools.
Families without a plan have no choice but to jump into “crisis mode” to make crucial decisions which may affect their loved one’s quality of life for years to come.
That’s when having a Life Care Plan in place becomes invaluable.
Comprehensive, Intentional Care
It makes sense that if a comprehensive, intentional plan has been created well in advance of an urgent medical event, families aren’t forced to make hasty, panicked decisions at that time. The hard thinking and planning has already been done, which can help reduce anxiety in an already distressing situation.
A central component of creating any effective plan is getting the right advice from the right people. The same is true for creating a Life Care Plan; you’ll want to put together a team of interdisciplinary professionals to provide input and expertise.
Who is On the Team?
Typically, the Life Care Planning process will involve a broad spectrum of individuals, including:
- An experienced elder care attorney
- Medical professionals
- Case managers
- Patients and their families
Selecting a competent team to compile data and provide salient input takes time. This isn’t a process to be executed in haste, which is why it’s important to start well ahead of time.
Another reason to plan ahead is so that you can take into full account your or a loved one’s finances, and include them in your deliberations. For example, what assets do your parents want to preserve for their grandchildren? Are there family heirlooms which they want passed down through the generations? Are there significant savings available for long term care? Is a long term care insurance policy in place?
An irrevocable Medicaid trust may be a great solution for you and your family, but because of certain regulations such as the “look-back” period, a trust must be established five years in advance of a qualifying event.
In some cases, there may be assets children aren’t even aware of at the time a significant medical event occurs. Setting up a Life Care Plan in advance will ensure all parties have the same information and know what the action plan is when the time comes.
The components of a well-thought-out plan take time to process, are best considered in advance and can be included in a Life Care Plan.
If you’d like to start the Life Care Plan process today, the professionals at Port Legal can help get you started. They’re experts in elder care law, and members of ElderCounsel, a group that specializes in the field.
Click here to schedule a free consultation with an expert today. Advance preparation and foresight can help you enjoy today, knowing you’ve got a solid plan in place for the future.