Your loved one’s health is deteriorating. Confused and unsure of what to do, families can schedule a long-term care planning conference sometimes called “Life Care Planning.” It is important to include the family member in the conference and in the planning. Sometimes due to health or physical limitations, this is not possible. It is important to start early. Regardless, Life Care Planning and understanding the options and limitations of long term care planning is vitally important.
Conferences for long-term care planning start with a review of all legal documents, such as last will and testament, trust, durable power of attorney, health surrogate, living will, and your loved one’s complete financial situation, including bank accounts, brokerage accounts, stocks, bonds, IRAs, real estate, life insurance, annuities, and any other form of income-generating asset. It also includes gross income, such as social security, pensions, alimony, annuity payments, and IRA distributions. Once your loved one’s legal documents are reviewed and the finances are understood, the conference proceeds to understanding your loved one’s health and physical needs. Depending on your loved one’s current living situation and future needs, a long-term care plan could consist of any number of ideas, from help at home to assisted living or residence in a nursing home. The conference will then look at ways to pay for the various types of care.
Each long term care plan evaluates the current needs of your loved one in conjunction with their future needs. Since no situation is the same, an independent evaluation is crucial when seeking to implement the best plan. Most importantly, the goal of the plan is to consider the client’s wishes and demands. Some clients want to remain in their home as long as possible, while other clients seek out assisted living or nursing homes to alleviate the stress upon their families and to gain the benefits of regular healthy meals and socialization. As attorneys, we do not make a decision for you; we provide you with options and, if necessary, the tools to qualify for benefits.