This is understandable, but there are certain legal and financial matters that senior citizens face, and you may not think about them until you start to reach an advanced age. However, if you prepare for these eventualities in advance, you can manage potentially challenging situations.
The primary elder law matters that we deal with on a day-to-day basis are fueled in part by the widespread nature of Alzheimer’s disease. It strikes over 30 percent of people that are 85 years of age and older, and it is not the only cause of cognitive impairment among elders.
There is a life expectancy calculator on the Social Security Administration website. If you use it to gauge the life expectancy of someone that is turning 67 today, you will see that it is 85 years for a man, and 87 years for a woman.
We are sharing this statistic to paint a compelling picture: if you live long enough to collect your full Social Security benefit, it is likely that you will live into your mid-to-late 80s.
When you put this in perspective, the elder law matters that we will look at may seem more relevant to you.
Elder Financial Abuse
When people get up there in years, they can become vulnerable to instances of elder financial abuse. There are various different types of scams, and identity theft is another looming threat, but these are not the biggest problems.
Believe it or not, most acts of elder financial abuse are perpetrated by people that know the victims. They can be family members, paid caregivers, or professionals that are trusted by the individuals they are counseling.
Losses are in the billions of dollars a year, and it is hard for experts to fully grasp the extent of the damage that is done, because most cases are not reported.
There is no magic wand that can be waived to completely eliminate the threat, but there are legal and practical steps that can be taken to mitigate your exposure.
About 70 percent of seniors will need some type of living assistance eventually, and over one third of elders will require nursing home care. Custodial care is quite expensive, and it is hard to handle these costs comfortably when you have been retired for years.
Medicare does not pay for nursing home care, but Medicaid will cover the expenses if you can gain eligibility. Since it is a need-based program, you cannot qualify if you have more than $2000 in countable assets in your name.
It is possible to divest yourself of assets to develop a financial profile that will lead to Medicaid eligibility. You can convey resources into an irrevocable Medicaid trust, or you could give direct gifts to loved ones that would be inheriting the resources anyway.
Since there is a five-year look back period, you have to complete all divestitures at least five years before you apply for coverage. Elder law attorneys help clients develop sound nursing home asset protection strategies.
Social Security and Medicare Advice
An elder law attorney can also help you understand the intricacies of Social Security and Medicare. The laws are subject to change, and we keep a finger on the pulse of these programs as they evolve over time.
Attend a Free Webinar!
You reached this site because you are interested in learning more about elder care and estate planning, and you are making the ideal connection. We have many written resources that you can tap into free of charge, and we also offer webinars on an ongoing basis.
Our webinars cover the most important topics in a down to earth, fully understandable manner, and they are offered free of charge. Plus, you will qualify for a free 60 minute virtual consultation after you have absorbed the information.
The dates are posted on our Cincinnati, Ohio estate planning webinar page. When you identify the session you would like to attend, follow the instructions to register so we can reserve your spot.