In the past, many people depended on their children to take care of them when they got old. However, this thought process is no longer practical, nor is it fair to the children. People have their own busy lives, and having to work full time, care for their own children and care for their parents as well is just not doable. There are also financial restraints, with many struggling to find adequate housing for themselves, let alone their parents.
Being a caretaker is not practical for most people. This causes aging adults to end up in nursing homes against their will.
Because of these factors, it is a good idea for people to turn to elder care law to get their needs met. Elder care law can help older people navigate through a variety of aging issues. The right lawyers have knowledge about the state and federal laws that apply. They understand the common issues that seniors face. They help them plan for their best financial future.
Still, understanding elder care law can be complicated. What is it, and what can it accomplish?
Here are some commonly asked questions (and answers) about elder care law.
How is Elder Care Law Different From Other Types of Law?
Elder law is a part of estate planning, so it helps plan for your future. Elder law attorneys help individuals and their families plan for retirement, ensuring you get all the benefits you are entitled to receive. It also deals with medical care, including Medicaid and Medicare coverage, long-term care, and nursing home care. The right lawyer can also help with decision-making documents, such as powers of attorney and advance directives, and provide guidance for seniors with disabilities. The right lawyer will look at elder law as a holistic approach and learn about your needs and wants so they can help you make the right decisions. Elder law may include assistance from accountants, financial planners, insurance agents, and other professionals,
What is Included in Elder Care Law?
Elder law incorporates state and federal laws to help protect California citizens as they age. This area of law helps aging or incapacitated clients understand how to best access all the various services. It also involves planning in advance to help clients protect their real estate and financial investment properties.
It is best that a person contacts an elder law attorney by the time they turn 60 years old. If you wait too long, you run the risk of your money not being protected. There is also the possibility that you could lose your capacity because of health issues, so the sooner, the better.
How Do I Protect My Assets?
There are many options available to protect your assets. You can give your assets to loved ones now as gifts. You can put them in a trust. You can create a will, which will distribute your assets to beneficiaries as you stipulate. You can buy long-term care insurance to protect your money. Also, assign powers of attorney so that you can authorize someone to handle matters if you are unable to act on your own behalf. You should have a financial power of attorney as well as a health care one.
Your lawyer can advise you on the best ways to protect your assets. In some cases, there are waiting periods, so do not delay taking action.
How Can I Avoid Probate and Estate Taxes?
Many people have two main goals when estate planning: to eliminate probate and reduce taxes. To avoid probate, your best option is to set up a trust. You would transfer assets to the trust throughout your lifetime. While you are alive, you are in charge of operating the trust. Then, when you die, the assets are transferred to your beneficiaries without the need for probate.
Avoiding estate taxes is pretty easy, as most people will not make enough money to even have these taxes. At the federal level, the current U.S. estate tax exemption is at $11.18 million per person or $22.36 million per couple. Some states have inheritance taxes, but California is one of many that do not. So, for the most part, taxes will likely not be a concern.
How Do I Plan for a Disabled Child?
The best way to provide for a disabled child is to create a special needs trust. A special needs trust allows you to put away money toward your child’s care, so it is there in case something happens to you. This trust will not interfere with your child's eligibility for federal benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
You should also name a guardian to care for your child in the event of your passing. This is a huge ask. Is there anyone in your life who can handle that type of commitment? In some cases, children may have to go to a group home to be raised by caregivers who are specially trained to care for disabled children.
You also need to name a trustee. A trustee is a person who will be responsible for managing the special needs trust. It can be a family member, a friend, a bank, or even a lawyer. The trustee ensures that the money in the trust is spent only on your child and only on services that are appropriate to your child's needs. The guardian cannot spend any money in the trust without the trustee's approval. The guardian and trustee can be the same person, although it is recommended that you choose two separate people to prevent fraud.
Contact Newman Law Group Today
Planning for old age and retirement can be a challenging endeavor. With the right legal help and careful planning, you can enjoy your golden years.
The team at Newman Law Group can assist you with your elder care needs. When you choose us, every client matters. To schedule a consultation, give us a call at (916) 352-3224.