Gainesville Estate Planning Law Blog

Finding a long-term care facility that best fits an elder's needs

There may be families in Georgia who are currently discussing options regarding how best to care for and support their aging loved ones. Many adult children do all they can to help their elderly parents; however, some situations have progressed to the point where it's no longer safe or in a parent's best interest for him or her to keep living independently, at home. Thankfully, finding a long\-term care facility is often possible; it is usually a matter of determining which type and exact location is most feasible, practical and comfortable for a particular prospective resident.  

Choosing the right facility for a parent depends on various factors, including his or her physical and mental health condition, financial status and level of independent function. Some long-term resident centers only provide basic housing and housekeeping services while others have full-time staff available to assist with personal care and medical issues. There are also facilities where specialized care for residents with dementia or similar conditions is available as well.  

Financial power of attorney documents can protect older adults

Caring for your aging parents is often complicated. Your parents may resent any attempts to curtail their rights or freedoms, such as restrictions on their ability to drive a vehicle. As an adult caring for adults, you have to carefully balance their realistic needs with their emotional health. You want to do what is right for your loved ones and support them, but you also want assurance that you can manage the situation in the future.

A potential compromise exists in the creation of a financial power of attorney. This legal document can allocate certain financial rights and responsibilities to you or another member of your family. If a time comes when your loved ones can no longer make sound decisions due to dementia or when they are incapacitated, the power of attorney will ensure that your family can handle their needs and protect their assets and estate.

How Financial Planning Supports the Long-Term Wellbeing of Older Adults

Older adults can become increasingly dependent on others to meet their personal needs. But when it comes to financial planning, many of them overlook the steps that prevent common issues while helping them achieve a more secure financial future.

Advocates seek government assistance in protecting loved ones

In Georgia and many other states, many families have suffered the devastating effects of elder abuse. Protecting loved ones isn't always possible as immediate family members often don't realize their elderly relatives are in danger until it's too late and damage has already been done. That's why a group of elder abuse advocates in another state have appealed to their senators to take action that may help keep elders in nursing homes, hospitals and other assisted care facilities a lot safer in the future.

The advocates recently met with senators to show them evidence of nearly 24,000 official complaints regarding elder abuse filed in their state in 2017. In fact,  the state's own website apparently shows at least 1,800 complaints actually posted in recent years. The advocates say the officials who are supposed to investigate complaints and accusations filed have repeatedly dropped the ball and failed to fulfill their responsibilities.

Long-term care planning now can ensure you leave something behind

Many Americans spend years accruing assets and building an estate. Typically, as they age, adults start to think about how those assets will support their loved ones, including children and grandchildren. Assets that represent a life's work can be a source of pride and allow older adults to leave behind a lasting legacy for their families.

However, medical issues and the need for nursing care can often destroy those legacies. While working adults may have paid into the Medicaid and Medicare systems for decades, they may not receive adequate benefits if they have substantial assets. When they die, any amount that remains could end up seized to repay the government for any benefits they did receive. That could destroy their planned legacy and leave their families struggling to cover end-of-life expenses.

When should a nursing home option be considered?

Many Georgia residents are adult children to aging parents and are doing their best to help their loved ones navigate their elder years. Certain issues may necessitate a temporary or permanent stay in a nursing home. Determining whether this option is most viable in a particular situation can be challenging, not to mention emotionally-charged.  

There are several factors to take into consideration when trying to determine if a parent should reside in a nursing facility. No two situations are exactly the same, however, so it's critical to assess an individual situation by its own merits rather than try to make a decision based on general information. It's not uncommon for those considering nursing homes to encounter legal challenges in the process.  

Protecting your family legacy with the use of trusts

Far too many people pass over trusts when beginning the estate planning process. They may think that trusts are too complicated or will cause more problems than they solve. In reality, however, trusts offer a host of benefits, especially for those with substantial assets or special family situations. A trust can protect your estate from massive estate tax obligations. They also are a buffer between your heirs and income tax obligations after you pass. Taxes aren't the only factor to consider, either.

There are many cases where a trust can offer your family a host of estate planning benefits. For example, if you have an autistic child or grandchild, a special needs trust can help protect your heir from financial abuse or loss of state benefits. They can also be helpful if you worry about the potential for one of your children (or grandchildren) divorcing. After all, divorce could mean that your heirs lose out on half of what you set aside for them.

Estate planning facts that elders should know

Aging comes with many physical, cognitive and emotional challenges, some of which are easier to overcome than others. Like most elders in other states, older Georgia residents may be thinking about certain issues, such as estate planning, that they may not have been concerned with years ago. Time has a way of making one feel an urgency when it comes to preparing for the future and protecting loved ones.

The most basic issue to consider regarding an estate plan is that people cannot be expected to carry out an estate owner's wishes if no one knows what they are. Putting everything into writing and signing it before a proper witness ensures that one's estate will be administered according to plan when the time comes. To the contrary, dying with no estate plan in place can lead to some very complicated situations that cause great stress for loved ones.

Protecting loved ones not always possible in nursing homes

No adult child in Georgia or anywhere wants to witness his or her elderly parent suffering at the hands of care providers. Yet, in many nursing homes throughout the nation, protecting loved ones from abuse and neglect is a main concern. A man in another state says he did his very best to bring concerning issues to the attention of the proper officials, but no one did anything to help his mother, who died from complications related to a urinary tract infection.

The man has filed a lawsuit against the nursing facility, alleging that his mother's death may have been prevented were it not for substandard care. He asserts that his mother was left to sit in her own urine and feces for hours on end, and he believes that caused her infection, and ultimate kidney failure and death. He also said he hopes by coming forward to draw attention to the problems in this particular nursing home, he will be able to help prevent future neglect and abuse from occurring.

Special needs trusts can help your child access state support

If you have a child with special needs, your job as a parent is much different from that of most others. The average parent spends about two decades providing for a child and a few more offering love and guidance. They can pass on in peace, knowing their children have their own family, as well as adequate social and financial support.

For special needs parents, however, daily care may be necessary for the rest of their lives. It's also important to think about what happens to your child after you die. One of the biggest concerns, other than allocating adequate financial resources for a special needs child, is ensuring a minor or adult child with disabilities has access to state support after an inheritance. A special needs trust may be the solution you need.

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