Elder law attorneys are sharing information about some important topics that are a bit disconcerting. As unpleasant as they may be, you should be aware of the eventualities that can come about when you reach an advanced age. In this article we will discuss some of those eventualities and look at what appropriate precautions you can take.
Alzheimer’s and Incapacity
The Alzheimer’s Association provides a lot of eye-opening information on their site. Over the last 10 years or so, the population has been getting older because the baby boomers are attaining senior citizen status. This is fueling a steady increase in the instances of Alzheimer’s disease.
Right now, about 6.5 million people are living with Alzheimer’s. That number is expected to grow to 13 million by 2050. One-third of senior citizens will have dementia from Alzheimer’s disease or another underlying cause when they die. Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading killer, and it takes more lives than prostate cancer and breast cancer combined.
Only 20 percent of people in the United States know about early onset Alzheimer’s disease symptoms. From a caregiver standpoint, over 11 million family members and friends are providing unpaid assistance to Alzheimer’s sufferers. If this was paid care, the cost would exceed $270 billion.
Clearly, a very significant percentage of people with this disease become unable to make sound decisions. Many of them will ultimately require a level of care that can only be provided in a nursing facility.
If you were to contract Alzheimer’s disease as an elder without taking any steps in advance, the state could be petitioned to appoint a guardian to become your representative. This is a necessary safeguard, but wouldn’t you rather choose a potential decision-maker in advance?
When you assert your own wishes, you seize control of the selection process. Plus, you nip potential disagreements among family members in the bud.
Nursing Home Asset Protection
There is a financial element that you should be well aware of when you are preparing for your twilight years. Medicare does not cover a stay in a nursing facility, and it does not pay for in-home care that is provided by a professional.
As you might imagine, nursing home expenses are considerable, and in-home care costs are also quite high. If you need living assistance and you have limited resources, the assets you intended to leave to your loved ones can be consumed by these expenses.
Fortunately, you can protect your legacy if you take the right steps at the right times. Medicaid will cover these costs if you can gain eligibility. The asset limit is set at $2000,. This is also a five year look back, which means you are ineligible for five years after you transfer assets out of your name.
That may sound like an impossible situation, but there is a pathway to eligibility that will work for many people. A lot of folks rely on income that they received from 401(k) plans and other investment accounts. They have no intention of spending the principal because it generates the income.
If you are in this situation, you could convey these income-producing assets into an irrevocable trust. Nothing would change, because you would still be able to accept the income. You can transfer your home into the trust as well to protect it from Medicaid estate recovery.
This is a process that will unfold after your passing if you are a Medicaid beneficiary. The program will try to recover assets that are part of your estate. You can qualify as a homeowner, but they can put a lien on the property when you are gone. This cannot happen if the home is held by a trust.
Schedule a Consultation Today!
Hopefully, you will never have to contend with Alzheimer’s disease or the need for living assistance. However, you can protect your interests if you implement an incapacity plan that covers your bases.
If you are ready to get started, you can schedule a consultation or Oklahoma City elder care planning office by calling us at 405-843-6100, or you can click this link to send us a message.