First, what’s the difference between Estate Planning and Elder Care?
Estate planning and elder care/elder law are two areas of legal practice that are often under the same umbrella, but there are important differences between them. Many times these two concepts are thought of differently, but ideally, they go together.
Elder law addresses preserving your assets while you are living, while estate planning addresses what happens to your assets after you die. Furthermore, elder law usually concerns older adults and their loved ones, but a person of any age can start an estate plan.
What Is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is the process of protecting and managing a person’s assets so that they are disposed of in the way that they choose upon their death. Estate planning can benefit everyone, regardless of age.
Here’s some of what goes into an estate plan:
- Writing wills and trusts to ensure your wishes are carried out after death
- Naming a guardian for young children or caretakers of pets
- Making a plan to avoid probate and save on estate taxes
- Revising estate plans in the occurrence of marriages, divorces, births, deaths, or changes in finances
- Protecting assets in case of divorce, lawsuits, long-term care needs, or overspending
Not Wanting to Think About it Keeps People from Planning
Many times estate planning conversations are difficult because you don’t want to think about what might happen. That fear works against you, however. Estate planning can actually help alleviate that fear. Most anxiety comes from not knowing what might happen in any given situation. When you invest in a comprehensive plan, you can ease fears and realize there are people willing to help at all stages of your life. Many clients tell us what a relief it is to have a plan in place and wish they had planned sooner rather than putting it off and fretting about it!
How Edwards Group Protects Your Assets
One way we protect assets from long-term care expenses is with an irrevocable trust. This type of trust helps protect your hard-earned savings and also helps you qualify for care benefits if we have the opportunity to set aside assets for 3 to 5 years. There are also benefits for Veterans and their surviving spouse that we can help with as well.
“But I Don’t Have Any Assets to Protect”
People often avoid estate planning because they think they don’t have any assets. Estate planning isn’t just for millionaires and characters in Austen novels with estates. If you have a home, retirement fund, or life insurance, we can protect those assets from nursing home expenses.
Edwards Group Can Help in a Crisis
Many times we think of estate planning as planning for our deaths, but it’s so much more than that. It’s about protecting and providing for those you love after you’re gone. And it’s protecting your assets in case disaster strikes, so you don’t have to spoil retirement with complicated legal or financial woes.
If you find yourself in a crisis position, we have tools that can help. We save thousands of dollars for clients every day. It isn’t an ideal situation to be in, but there is help at Edwards Group.
What Is Elder Care Planning?
Elder care planning involves creating a strategy – Legal, Financial, and Care – to fulfill an elder’s wishes and meet his or her needs as they age. The elder person’s loved ones, caregivers, healthcare providers, financial advisors, facilities, care communities, and attorneys should all be included in developing the strategy.
Benefits of Elder Care Planning
Here are some of the ways elder care planning with an elder law attorney protects you:
- Ensures you’re provided for both financially and medically in the later stages of life
- Anticipates and provides for future medical costs and needs, including long-term care
- Helps you develop a plan to pay for future care while preserving assets
- Helps avoid crisis planning and the dreaded spenddown
- Helps alleviate family frustration and helps with family communication
- Helps open the door to more choices when it comes to care
- Helps you qualify for Medicaid should you ever need it or other benefits to pay for long-term care expenses
In our office, many of our Elder Care clients are in a crisis situation. They have a tragic event that has happened, such as a stroke, loss of a caregiver, a fall, etc., and individuals, couples, and families realize overnight that they can no longer care for each other the way they intended.
Our elder law attorneys and elder care advisors work with these circumstances every day. They are equipped to help you make the best possible decisions when it comes to your legal, financial, and care needs. Many times when you wait to plan, your choices become limited. On the flip side, by planning ahead you allow yourself choices when a situation arises.
So How Do Estate Planning and Elder Care Go Together?
For Those Under 65
For those under the age of 65 who are relatively healthy, Edwards Group provides comprehensive (holistic) estate plans that anticipate the future needs/challenges of each client’s unique situation. Since you never know what’s coming, it’s always a good idea to make plans for unexpected illnesses or accidents by starting to think about what elder care looks like for you, your spouse, or your loved one.
For Those Over 65
For those over 65 (or those who have had early health challenges like strokes or early-onset Alzheimer’s) creating an estate plan with Edwards Group’s Elder Care Advisors can help people make the best financial, legal, and care decisions possible as they get older.
Speak with One of Our Elder Care Advisors
Don’t wait for disaster to strike before you make an estate plan and elder care plan. If you or someone you love is over the age of 65, then you could benefit from speaking with one of our Elder Care Advisors.
There are many things they can do to make sure your existing estate plan is ready for the challenges of aging. Or if you don’t already have a plan, they can help you develop one that will be ready to withstand the challenges that come from getting older. Give us a call at 217-726-9200.
Everyone plans for retirement, and most people plan for death. Don’t forget to plan for the time in between!