Long-term care planning is one of the most important parts of estate planning. Thinking about the aging process isn’t always easy. Waiting to create a long-term care plan, however, can limit your options regarding your budget, lifestyle, and overall well-being. Taking the time to engage in long-term care planning can help you and your spouse enjoy the years ahead without worrying about paying for nursing home costs and other health-related expenses.
For the cost of only one to two months of care in a nursing home, the skilled long-term care planning lawyers at Palmer & Slay, PLLC, can help you prepare for the future. Long-term care planning is an investment that is well worth it. The sooner you begin long-term care planning, the better. We can help you become eligible for Medicaid nursing home coverage should the need arise, while protecting your hard-earned assets. Contact our Mississippi law firm today to schedule your initial consultation.
The Importance of Long-Term Care Planning
Many Mississippi residents who are heading towards retirement have unanswered questions about how they will pay for nursing home care should they need it. At Palmer & Slay, PLLC, we assist our clients with a variety of long-term care planning issues, such as:
- Financial matters, including taxation, financial planning, and housing issues
- Choosing and appointing legal guardians
- Choosing and paying for long-term care facilities
- Issues related to nursing home residents’ rights
- Creating a will-based or trust-based estate plan
- Creating long-term care documents, including advance healthcare directives and durable powers of attorney
- Drafting and executing estate planning documents
- Preparing for Medicare and Medicaid Coverage
- Deciding healthcare issues
- Creating specific trusts for use in VA Pension and Medicaid plans.
The Earlier You Start, the Better Your Long-Term Care Options
Long-term care planning is one of the more complex legal issues that most people will encounter in their lives. As mentioned above, there are strict laws regarding qualifying for Medicaid, and purchasing long-term care insurance is often extremely expensive. At Palmer & Slay, PLLC, we will carefully listen to your goals and needs, advise you on the best way to protect your assets, and engage in long-term care planning. Depending on our clients’ needs, we will create some or all of the following legal documents as part of their long-term care plan:
- Asset Protection Trust
- Healthcare Directive (Living Will)
- Medical Power of Attorney
- HIPAA Release
- Financial Power of Attorney
- Warranty Deed
Paying for Long-Term Care in a Nursing Home
Mississippi nursing homes can cost well over $8,000 per month, making it difficult, if not impossible, for many families to cover nursing home care costs. In Mississippi, the median annual cost for nursing home care is around $75,000. Depending on your location, you and your family could pay over $85,000 per year. Paying for nursing home care is one of the most important parts of estate planning. You do not want to see all of the money you’ve saved after years of hard work become depleted during a nursing homestay.
There are other options for paying for nursing care costs, but many of these methods are insufficient. These options include annuities, long-term care insurance, reverse mortgages, and life insurance to pay for nursing home care. Some private insurance companies provide limited services. When private insurance companies do cover long-term care, they typically only cover short-term skilled nursing services. Many families opt to have their loved ones live at home and hire home health aides. While this is a less costly option, home health aides can still cost over $4,000 per month. Eligible wartime veterans and their surviving spouses could be eligible for certain VA benefits that would help pay for the cost of home health aides.
Mississippi Medicaid Planning
For most Mississippians, qualifying for Medicaid is the best way to cover nursing home care costs for a long period of time. Qualifying is not easy, however. Medicaid is a needs-based benefit program, meaning that there are income and asset requirements that must be met to receive benefits. You will also need to prove that you have a medical condition that requires you to stay in a nursing home facility.
Our experienced Medicaid planning lawyers can help you transfer ownership of your assets into an irrevocable trust so that you can qualify for Medicaid. We can also help you with the Medicaid application process, should the need arise. Submitting a thorough and accurate application will increase your chances of qualifying immensely.
Caregiver planning is also a crucial part of long-term care planning. Whether you anticipate the need for a caregiver so you can continue living at home, or you’ve become your loved one’s caretaker, caregiving planning can be incredibly helpful. At Palmer & Slay, PLLC, we have helped many caregivers protect themselves and their loved ones legally. We can also help you and your spouse create a financial plan for paying for caregiving services.
One of the best ways to protect caregivers of disabled or elderly loved ones is to use a caregiver agreement. A caregiver agreement is sometimes called a personal services contract. This legal agreement allows the elderly or disabled individual to transfer money to family members as compensation for their caregiving, rather than as a gift.
One of the benefits of doing this is to allow the elderly or disabled individuals to qualify for Medicaid. All gifts made to family members in the five years before a person applies for Medicaid will count against the applicant. Caregiver agreements also allow the person receiving care to set forth his or her needs, allowing both parties to know what is expected. In some cases, the person receiving the care can deduct caregiving payments as medical expenses. If you are receiving care or giving care, we recommend discussing caregiving planning with an experienced lawyer.
Contact Our Experienced Estate Planning Lawyers Today
The sooner you begin the process of long-term care planning, the better. Long-term care planning is for everyone, and we are ready to help you start the process. Contact Palmer & Slay, PLLC today to schedule your initial consultation.