What Are the Differences Between Estate Planning, Elder Law, and Long-Term Planning?

Jackie Bedard
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So you might be wondering: What’s the difference between estate planning, elder law, or long-term planning? We do all of these things in our office, but to me they are slightly different.

Estate planning, traditionally, has really focused primarily on what happens when you die. And while that is still really important for us to be talking about, sometimes the issue can be about getting sick before dying and needing care for some period of time. This is why it is important to know how you are going to pay for that so you can make sure and get the care that you want.

Elder law has traditionally focused on what I call ‘crisis planning’ – really waiting until someone needs care or is expected to need care pretty soon. When this happens, the family is sort of left scrambling to figure out what their options are, and often that ends up being things like doing a “spin down” plan to try and qualify for assistance for Medicaid. Or maybe we are looking at things like Veteran’s assistance for wartime veterans.

For me, the goal of long-term care planning is not to wait until a time of crisis to start planning, let’s start earlier while we are healthy and have more options and we are not stressed out. Let’s talk about what those options are. Generally, the sooner you start and the healthier you are, you have more options and we can have more conversations about what your wishes are if you should ever need care. Then we can come up with a great plan for how we are going to pay for that care to make sure that you can have as much independence as possible and as much dignity as possible – and also not leaving your family financially devastated.

One of the best ways to get to know us is by attending one of our free public seminars. You can register online at SEMINARS.CAROLINAFEP.COM or give us a call at (919) 443-3035, and we will be happy to go over future dates and help you get registered.

You can learn more about estate planning by downloading our free book, Estate Planning Pitfalls: The 12 Most Common Threats to Your Family and Your Estate.