Gainesville Estate Planning Law Blog

Residential care and special needs trusts for disabled adults

Parenting a special needs child often means caring for them throughout their adult lives and into your retirement. It is common for parents to worry what will happen to their child with autism, Down syndrome or other serious disabilities. Thankfully, special needs trusts create an opportunity for families to plan financially for the needs of a special needs adult child.

This is particularly important for families whose special needs adult child requires residential care. These facilities can cost thousands of dollars a month, and many insurance programs, including Medicare, do not cover their cost. If you do not have adequate assets to cover all of the expenses of your adult child's cost-of-living after you die, you may worry about what will happen to their inheritance and standard of care.

Issues that can trigger mental illness in the elderly

Taking care of parents as they age can be a highly emotional and challenging experience as many adult children in Georgia can undoubtedly attest. Some situations are a bit more stressful than others, such as those involving a parent with mental illness. Mental decline is not always immediately apparent.

There are often certain issues or circumstances that arise in a person's life just before the onset of mental decline. For instance, many elderly people become mentally ill after being diagnosed with a physical chronic illness of some kind. Grief is often another condition that can lead to mental illness. When a man or woman loses a spouse to whom he or she has been married for 60 or 70 years, he or she may simply not be able to cope with the sorrow.

Comedian Tim Conway's family fighting over conservatorship

Georgia fans of the old Carol Burnett Show are likely also big fans of comic Tim Conway, a main player on the show for many years. Siadly, Conway has reportedly become afflicted with dementia. Unfortunately, one of his six children, a daughter, is battling his wife over conservatorship.

His daughter told the judge overseeing the case that she believed her 84-year-old father's wife was planning to relocate him from the facility where he now receives round-the-clock care. She stated that she also believes such a move would be highly detrimental to his health, and possibly even place his life at risk. The situation is a complicated one, however, because Conway's wife has adamantly stated that she does not have, nor ever has had any intention on moving her husband to another facility.

Beyond a will: Other essential estate planning documents

Most people think that if they draft a will, they have covered all the bases for what happens to their property when they die. However, there is much more to estate planning than simply drafting a will. To have a successful and effective estate plan, it must include other documents beyond a will or trust.

If you are starting the estate planning process, it is important to include a range of documents that not only financially provide for your family but also grant chosen representatives to make decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated. Here are the most vital documents you should include in your estate plan.

Long term care planning: How to overcome obstacles that arise

Getting older definitely can be challenging in many ways. As Georgia residents approach their golden years, they may have health problems or financial issues that need addressed. Some must transition to nursing home care, while others are focused on executing strong estate plans. Long term care planning typically includes numerous aspects in addition to planning an estate, however, and it helps to know where to seek support if complications arise.

Perhaps you are an adult child of a parent in need of long term care assistance. It can be overwhelming trying to organize documents and help your parent get needed mental of physical health care, as well as take care of insurance problems or daily living assistance service issues. Elder law regulations vary by state, so it is critical to seek clarification before developing a particular plan.

Avoid these errors when naming a beneficiary

Many Georgia residents are currently thinking about estate planning or long-term care issues. Some are adult children who helping their aging parents get their documents squared away. Others are people who realize the importance of bringing such issues off the back burners of their minds to the forefront. It is never too soon to start, although there are several common mistakes that those developing plans will want to avoid, especially when naming a beneficiary.

It is critical to understand the various means for transferring assets to beneficiaries. Some people choose options that are payable upon death while others opt for living trusts. If not a single specific beneficiary is named, all assets will be processed in probate court. There is no guarantee that the person to whom the court transfers the assets would be the same person intended by an estate owner.

There are many ways to pay for nursing home care

No one wants to go into a nursing home, but at some point you may find that you require this type of care. Just the same, you may realize that an elderly parent is no longer able to care for themselves at home. In this case, it's up to you to step in and provide all the assistance they require, which may mean finding a nursing home.

While there are many questions about nursing home care, how to pay for this expense is often at the top of the list.

How to tell if a Georgia nursing home makes the grade

When a Georgia family is thinking about executing a long-term care plan, it is often because one or both parents in the family are getting on in years and want to have their financial, medical and daily living situations in order so as to provide for their own needs and also to protect assets that will one day be transferred to their loved ones. A main topic of concern for many elders is nursing homes. In fact, a lot of people are currently in need of nursing home assistance, perhaps during recovery from a long stay in the hospital or because independent living is no longer a viable option.  

Finding an assisted living residence that is a good fit for a particular family can be quite challenging. It is no secret that many facilities have been fined or otherwise penalized for providing substandard care or, worse, for negligence that resulted in patient injuries or death. The good news is that there are also many high-quality nursing homes in this state and throughout the nation as well. 

Differences between a living and a testamentary trust

There are various tools that are beneficial for long-term care and estate planning purposes. Each Georgia resident can customize his or her own plan to protect assets, set aside funds for nursing home or other medical care or to provide for loved ones by implementing a trust. Since there are numerous types of trusts, it's important to understand the differences between them, especially regarding living or testamentary plans. 

If a living trust is executed, it means you have set it up yourself at some point in your life. There are revocable living trusts and irrevocable living trusts, the latter of which can never be changed, hence the term. The main difference in a testamentary trust that it is not you, per se, but your will, that creates the trust. The property or funds you wish to pass on to a beneficiary passes into the trust through your will after being processed in a probate court.  

Does your aging loved one require a special needs trust?

As parents and other loved ones age, finding the right balance of support and independence becomes a delicate negotiation, and can sometimes strain relationships severely. In some cases, parents who utilize government assistance face significant risks when it comes to planning for senior living. Specifically, seniors and those with disabilities that keep them from working must not exceed certain income or property thresholds if they hope to keep or obtain assistance like Medicare and Medicaid.

Realistically, this means that a parent with some resources may find themselves stuck in a financial gap where they make too much or own too much to qualify for assistance, but otherwise they cannot afford the high costs of aging and needing additional support and treatment. Without proper planning, your parent may lose everything to skyrocketing costs of senior care because they exceed these income and property thresholds.

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