If you do any amount of research for elder law or estate planning, you will see terms such as “crisis” and “long-term planning.” Though both of these terms apply to elder law, they represent different situations and needs. Even people new to elder law should understand how these two terms are used because they can impact how you plan now.
What Is A Crisis?
In terms of elder law, a crisis is when you have to plan for an issue after it has already occurred. When people or couples sit down to develop their estate plans, they discuss the types of available tools to help them later in life.
For instance, you may develop a healthcare power of attorney. This gives a designated person the ability to make medical decisions for you if you cannot do so for yourself. A power of attorney allows someone to manage your finances as if they were you. And people can create irrevocable trusts to protect their assets and help them qualify for Medicaid if they need long-term care—which can be extremely costly.
What happens when someone becomes incapacitated or receives an Alzheimer’s diagnosis without any sort of prior planning? This is what a crisis would look like. There may not be a trust to protect the person’s assets, there is nothing in place to allow someone to speak on their behalf to doctors, and no one can access their finances.
In a crisis, an elder law or estate planning attorney would have to work to generate these things after the fact. Not only is this process complex, but it can be extremely costly. More importantly, people are working to protect their loved one without any tools in place.
What if you could prepare these documents ahead of time? In the event of a medical emergency, sudden diagnosis, or an urgent need to be moved to a long-term care facility, would there be a plan in place with the appropriate documentation to support it?
An elder law attorney sits down with people and creates a plan unique to their situation. They look at several different things, but here are a few:
- How much money they have saved
- Their assets
- Anticipated needs for the future
Though it is not ideal, people do initiate this process after a diagnosis. An elder law attorney explains the various methods to protect their assets. Why? Due to the high cost of long-term care, people can place their assets into a trust. This allows them to qualify for Medicaid while also ensuring they have things to pass to their beneficiaries.
Kevin Tharpe, P.C.
Take control of your future by developing an estate plan now. At J. Kevin Tharpe P.C., we have extensive experience with both elder law and estate planning. Contact us today to schedule your consultation. We look forward to building a custom solution for your estate planning needs.