Who Can Help You With Long-Term Care Planning?
In Texas, to start planning for an elderly family member’s long-term care needs, or to begin long-term care planning for yourself, you can find out more or start the planning process by arranging to speak with a Waco healthcare planning lawyer.
Texas estate planning lawyers often help the elderly and their families prepare for long-term care and retirement. Depending on your specific personal needs, an estate planning lawyer may help you plan for home healthcare, assisted living, or long-term nursing home care.
A knowledgeable Waco elder law attorney can assist you with preparing a personalized plan that protects your assets, reduces your out-of-pocket medical costs, and maximizes your savings for long-term care and retirement.
What is the Cost of Long-Term Care?
Today in the United States, many older people are struggling with serious debt. The Wall Street Journal has reported that the average borrower who is 65 years old has substantially more mortgage debt and more vehicle debt than the average 65-year-old had in 2003.
Many adults will need long-term care later in their lives, but sadly, many elderly adults in Texas cannot afford that care. In 2021, the average cost of assisted living in this state was $3,998 per month.
The cost of long-term medical care is a daunting financial challenge for many of the elderly in Texas and throughout the nation. In fact, medical debt is among the top reasons why so many older people file for bankruptcy in Texas and across the United States.
How Will an Attorney Help You?
After reviewing your circumstances and needs, a Waco healthcare planning lawyer can provide you with answers to these long-term planning questions:
- How can I know that my long-term care requirements will be affordable?
- Will any of my assets remain available for my loved ones?
- What risks to my assets can be avoided with long-term care planning?
- What resources are available for long-term care planning?
A Texas estate planning attorney can offer guidance and sound advice to you and your loved ones about the financial and legal aspects of aging, including:
- estate and tax planning, trust management and administration, and the probate process
- preserving your resources for long-term healthcare
- guardianships and conservatorships
- financial and medical powers of attorney
How Does Long-Term Planning Benefit You?
Without proper planning, long-term assisted living care, nursing home care, or home healthcare can rapidly devour your family’s savings. On the other hand, effective healthcare planning can substantially enhance your ability to pay for your medical expenses in the years to come.
Whether you are planning ahead for an elderly loved one or facing an imminent health crisis with that loved one, your first move should be consulting a Waco elder law attorney who can offer you the right planning advice and ensure that you are taking the right steps.
After a review of your assets, liabilities, and your current financial circumstances – or your elderly loved one’s circumstances – a Texas estate planning lawyer can recommend ways to preserve and protect your assets so that the long-term care you need will be available.
What Other Challenges Do the Elderly Face?
Another challenge that older adults must face is the possibility of becoming incapacitated due to a sudden or unexpected illness or injury. If you are incapacitated, and if you cannot make your own financial or medical decisions, you must have an incapacity plan already in place.
If you have not prepared an incapacity plan, a Texas judge conceivably could name a stranger to make your medical and financial decisions. It’s even conceivable that members of your family could have no say or influence about the choices that are made in your name.
What Should an Incapacity Plan Include?
Your own incapacity plan should be prepared by a Waco estate planning lawyer as soon as possible, while there is still no doubt regarding your mental capacities. An incapacity plan may include a revocable trust, financial and medical powers of attorney, and a HIPAA authorization:
- A revocable trust authorizes a “trustee” that you have named to manage your estate. A revocable trust can reduce your tax burden, and upon your death, it lets your loved ones avoid the cost of probate. You may cancel or change a revocable trust at any time. A trust is not necessary for everyone, but can be a very helpful and beneficial tool, if used properly.
- Your financial power of attorney provides your “agent” – the person you name – with the authority to make choices that protect your financial interests. Select someone you completely trust who has some knowledge about finances.
- Your medical power of attorney lets your agent make medical decisions for you when you are not able to make those choices, including choices about CPR, respirators, consent for surgeries, tube feeding, blood transfusions, and other important medical decisions.
- As part of your incapacity plan, your HIPAA authorization determines who may access your medical records and who may consult with your healthcare providers.
How Should You Choose a Planning Attorney?
Long-term planning services and advice about elder law are provided by a number of Texas attorneys, but before you choose an attorney to prepare a long-term care and asset protection plan for yourself or for someone you love, ask your prospective attorney these questions:
- How long have you focused on asset protection and long-term care planning?
- How much of your practice focuses on the elderly?
- Which documents and other information are needed for an initial legal consultation?
- What fees will be required and how are those fees determined?
Rainey & Rainey Will Help You Plan for the Future
Finding the right attorney to prepare your long-term healthcare and asset protection plan doesn’t require an extensive search. A Texas elder law attorney at Rainey & Rainey can prepare the long-term plan you need.
An attorney at Rainey & Rainey can also discuss and prepare for you a will or a trust, a declaration of guardianship, a living will, or a comprehensive estate plan that will provide your loved ones with long-term financial security after your death or if you become incapacitated.
None of us can know what the future may bring, but Rainey & Rainey can help you prepare for tomorrow. To find out more, to set up a long-term healthcare plan, or to prepare a comprehensive estate plan, contact the legal team at Rainey & Rainey now by calling 254-752-8644.