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Long Term Care Planning involves looking at the needs of the individual to assess what the best care situation will be now and in the future. There should be a balance between the financial situation and the care needs. A good long term elder care plan will take into consideration whether the individual can safely remain home with assistance or need to move into a long term care facility. Options may include independent living, adult day centers, assisted living, or skilled nursing care. To assist with the health care side of the planning, I work with geriatric care managers or life care aging specialists to create the best environment for their loved ones. My part of the planning involves looking at the finances and providing assistance to find ways to pay for the care. Please note that Medicare does not pay for long term care costs. Some strategies may include asset protection. The areas to discuss with a family include:
Estate planning allows individuals to control their lives and their assets while uncontrollable life events may be happening. All legal adults over the age of 18 should have some sort of estate planning documents. I often hear many reasons why an estate plan is not needed. Most people like to say they do not have a large estate, so they do not need a plan. However, estate planning helps you express what your wishes are no matter the value of assets. Even if the only asset that you own is car, you likely still want to say who can use the car in your absence. The other excuse that I hear is that "I'm not old enough." Estate planning is not just about planning for old age or death. Accidents occur in life at any age. Many people have short hospitalizations throughout their life and will need to appoint someone to look after them.
Take proper steps to ensure that your loved one will be cared for now and in the future. A proper plan can ensure that the physical, emotional, and financial needs of your loved one with a disability can be taken care of in the manner to which they've become accustomed to while you were there to care for them. I work with families with loved ones of any age including newborns, children, and older adults. Special needs planning is useful for many individuals with physical or mental disabilities including, but not limited to Autism, ADHD, Epilepsy, Cerebral Palsy, Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Multiple Sclerosis, or vision or hearing loss. A good plan should be flexible enough to adapt to any situation that may come up now or in the future. I discuss with my client's family the needs of the individual including future housing needs, activities/social needs, religious preferences, family activities, and medical needs. The areas to discuss with a family include:
Probate is the process of administering a decedent's estate whether they died with or without a will. The process involves filing proper forms and documentation with the local county probate court. My role is to assist the executor or administrator in making sure the proper steps and forms are filed with the court to ensure that decedent's wishes and distributions can be made in accordance with the law.
Trust Administration is the process of the trustee working to make sure that the assets of the trust are managed properly for the benefit of the trust beneficiaries. Tasks for the trustee are outlined in the trust document itself, but the trustee must also follow the requirements of the Ohio Trust Code. My role is to assist the trustee in preparing the required documentation to ensure that the trustee completes his or her fiduciary duties.
Asset Protection Planning consists of the use of a trust to protect assets and preserve wealth by managing the risks to those assets. Some of the reasons why you might consider asset protection planning are:
Appropriately using asset protection planning can help to ensure that you remain in control of the assets and do not have to "give them away."
The Guardianship process may be necessary if your loved one can no longer make decisions for themselves and lacks capacity. Often times a guardianship may be required, if there was no power of attorney documents prepared. Third parties will need letters from the court stating that the Guardian has been appointed and can act on behalf of the loved one without capacity. Guardianship is a formal process through the court to prove that the potential ward is no longer competent to make their own decisions. A Guardian of Person makes health related decisions for the potential ward. A Guardian of Estate makes legal and financial decisions for the potential ward. My role is to assist either the potential guardian in obtaining the guardianship by ensuring that all of the proper documentation is filed with the court. I can also assist a potential ward if he or she needs to prove that they do not need a guardianship.
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