Paying for care typically involves one or a combination of the following:
• Long-term care insurance.
Every state has different requirements. Missouri requires that an individual have assets not in excess of about $1,000. In Kansas, the cap is $2,000.
• Medicare may pay for 100 days or less of care in a long-term care facility if the care is part of rehabilitation due to recent hospitalization.
• Some benefits also may be available through theOlder Americans Act
orVeterans’ Aid Attendance Benefits
.Gathering the papers
Here are some of the basic estate planning documents that experts recommend:
• General durable power of attorney: For business and financial matters; can be tailored to be broad or limited as an individual desires; can be revoked; can be made effective immediately upon signing or upon a specific event; allows one to maintain control of future by nominating a trusted person.
• Health care durable power of attorney: Helps avoid need for court-ordered guardianship; becomes effective only if the principal becomes incapacitated or unable to communicate wishes; can include a “living will,” also known as advance directive language, laying out wishes regarding nature and extent of care desired at end of life.
• Living will (advance directive): Allows one’s wishes to be carried out regarding end-of-life care; applies only in the event of an irreversible or imminent terminal condition.
• Last will and testament.Spending down
Some basic strategies:
• Pay off outstanding debts, credit cards, home mortgages.
• Buy pre-paid funeral plans.
• Replace an old vehicle to secure reliable transportation for coming years.
• Pre-pay taxes and insurance obligations.
• Make needed home improvements and update furnishings.
• Take a needed vacation.
• Make gifts to children, although this will need to be reported to Medicaid. Depending on the amount, gifts will create a period of ineligibility for Medicaid benefits anywhere from a few weeks to five years.
Source: Karen Weber, elder care attorney