Many people think that once someone has gone into a nursing home, there are no options for estate planning at that point, but that is not always the case! Someone’s estate plan can be updated at any time as long as the person is deemed competent to do so by the attorney. Even if they physically cannot sign their name, they can still potentially update their documents.
When an attorney is determining if someone is competent to execute updated estate planning documents, the attorney is looking to see if the person fully understands the decisions they are making within the documents they are signing. Because an estate plan grants someone or some organization items from a person’s estate, the law places importance on making sure the person understands the significance of what they are signing. This also helps ensure that people are not taken advantage of and deceived into giving away all or portions of their estate.
Do you have a plan to pay for your spouse’s care?
Oftentimes, a person enters a nursing home without a plan for how to pay for that care. We always encourage planning ahead for the possibility of needing some form of long-term care, but there are still options if you do not know how to pay for your spouse’s care right now. This is what we refer to as crisis care planning.
Typically, the only source of funds to pay for care expenses is your hard-earned savings, but given the cost of care, it doesn’t take long to go broke. The government will not step in and help pay for your nursing home stay until you’ve met the financial tests for Medicaid assistance.
Yet many people receive flat-out WRONG advice about how to qualify for Medicaid, often from well-intentioned family and friends. Following that advice can often have major negative consequences. For example, if you give everything to your children, you will actually delay how quickly you qualify for Medicaid benefits, not speed it up.
Unless you work in this area, you’re likely not aware of the many ways to legally preserve the maximum amount of assets and income and still qualify for Medicaid benefits in the shortest time possible, whether you’re an individual or a married couple. While pre-planning often leaves you with more options, even in a crisis scenario there are generally several planning options still available.
Seek Guidance From An Experienced Elder Law Attorney
The best way to navigate the path ahead is to seek the advice of an experienced elder law attorney. Our team at Carolina Family Estate Planning has helped many clients take an interdisciplinary approach to their long-term care planning by exploring both legal and financial options. Usually, a well-rounded long-term care plan will involve a combination of legal, health care, and financial tools to meet your goals and maximize your protection.
Request a copy of our free Guide to Paying for Nursing Home Care in North Carolina, and give our office a call at 919-443-3035 to get started on your updated estate planning today.