The month of May is Elder Abuse Awareness Month, and in honor of that, we’ll be focusing our posts on elder law. What does elder law include? Well, it’s not just elder abuse. More often, elder law covers protecting the home and other assets from nursing home expenses, long-term care planning concerns and other issues that arise as people age. Mostly, elder law concerns making sure people get the care they need as they age and that both they and their assets are protected.
That care isn’t just health care, either. Often, as a parent ages, adult children step in to help out with finances. As we age, it’s easy to have a harder time focusing on financial matters, especially complex ones. For adult children whose parents have always been independent, it can be particularly difficult to identify when their parents begin needing more help. While we often think of planning for incapacity as part of creating an estate plan, it’s important to consider planning for diminished capacity, as well. It could be as simple as helping out with paying bills, preparing food, updating the home or other general well-being items.
It’s not just preparing legal documents or processes, either, though those can help. A good elder law plan implements systems and check-ins that may be useful for your whole family so you can ensure nothing falls through the cracks. Technology helps us all stay in touch much more than in any previous generation, and that’s one way to connect with aging parents or other loved ones and monitor any changes in health or other needs. For those with implicit trust in their loved ones, trust planning can help by giving trusted family members access to finances. However, you’ll need to ensure assets are properly aligned with the trust and that financial institutions have accepted and correctly aligned the assets.
Sadly, there are those who prey on the elderly. It’s an unfortunate truth. But planning ahead and working together as a family and as a team of estate planning and financial professionals can help minimize the risk and the damage these people can do.
Estate planning and elder law is often about planning for contingencies. Hopefully, you’ll never need the contingency plans, but what happens if you do? At Family Estate Planning Law Group, we want to help families plan for the contingencies in advance and work together with you, your loved ones and your financial professionals to ensure your plan works and takes care of you and your family.
That’s why we strongly encourage our clients to hold a Family Care Meeting. This meeting allows the family to discuss the estate plan, getting a better understanding of the contingency plans in place and the roles and responsibilities each loved one might need to bear. It also introduces the financial and estate planning professionals to your family, establishing a relationship so they know who to call if and when issues arise.
It’s certainly not fun to face the fact that, as we age, we often become less sharp than we were. However, planning ahead with your family, financial and estate planning professionals can make all the difference. For more information, explore our website and contact us to schedule your consultation today!