If you are the child of parents who are currently over the age of 65 you’ve probably given a little bit of thought to the day when one (or both) of your parents may need Long Term Care. Understandably, most adult children prefer not to think about the day when their parents may not be able to care for themselves, but in some cases it simply cannot be avoided, especially if your parent is already showing early signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia. If you are concerned about your parent’s future, there are steps you can take now to make the transition to giving and receiving care later easier on both you and your parents:
1. Talk to your parents. Find out if your parents have already thought about the topic, if they’ve made provisions for it, or if they have any specific wishes. Furthermore, opening the lines of communication lays the groundwork for trust and cooperation in the future.
2. Encourage your parents to create an Estate Plan if they don’t have one already. An Estate Plan will be important in expressing your parents’ wishes on necessary issues such as preferred agents in case of incapacity, financial power of attorney, and health care decisions. These essential documents will not only let you and others know their wishes, it will also prevent many expensive delays and frustrating red tape in the future.
3. Make sure that long-term care planning is a part of their estate plan. When most persons prepare an estate plan, they usually think only about passing assets to loved ones upon death, avoiding probate and taxes. Often overlooked is long term care planning. Such planning should consider the need for a Medi-Cal subsidy should either parent ever need care in a nursing facility. Many middle income individuals are surprised to learn that they may qualify for a Medi-Cal subsidy in the event of need. However, this ability to qualify may depend upon whether proper planning documents are in place ahead of time.
4. Talk to trusted advisors about how to prepare for the financial burden of Long Term Care—because there will be a financial burden. Our firm can help you consider options for Medi-Cal and Long Term Care Insurance, as well as some lesser known options such as a Dependent Care Account or a Care Contract with a care-giver child.
As you think and talk about these issues with your parents, siblings, and other trusted advisors, remember that you don’t have to go through this alone. Elder Law and Long Term Care are intricate and convoluted subjects, but there are caring professionals out there whose business it is to guide you through the intricacies of Elder Care. Let us help you look into the future with confidence and clear eyes.