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Elder Law or Estate Planning? (What's The Difference?)

elder law estate planning Jun 29, 2016

When new clients come to see us, they often focus on wills and trusts. They say something like, “I want to make sure my assets pass to my heirs with as little as possible in taxes and other expenses.”

That’s typical traditional Estate Planning.

elder law

But for seniors and leading edge Baby Boomers (retired or nearing retirement), you need to know the difference between Elder Law and Estate Planning.

Elder Law Incorporates Estate Planning, But Takes Care Issues Into Account

Understanding the difference between “estate planning” and “elder law” is essential for everyone. Elder law attorneys provide tools and strategies that most estate planning attorneys simply don’t. At the end of the day, what makes sense in an estate planning sense may prove financially catastrophic when viewed from an elder law standpoint.

Estate Planning = Death Planning

An estate plan helps someone who is worried about “what happens when I die.” It covers distributing your assets, how and to whom, and the process of estate administration.

However, for almost anyone, the concern should not just be “what happens when I die?”  You also need to know, “what happens if I don’t die?” By that, I mean what happens if you live, but become ill and need care?

Who will help you make decisions? How will you get good care without going broke? How will your family stay out of court if you need help? How will you ensure that you don’t become a burden on loved ones? Planning for life -  this is what our clients are planning for, through Elder Law.

elder lawHere’s another way to think about this. An estate plan directs that if you have assets when you die, they will go to your intended beneficiaries. The key word is “if.” The estate plan will not ensure that there will be any assets left. A lengthy illness, hospital and/or nursing home stay could wipe out your nest egg. You could leave your spouse and family with nothing.

33% of all seniors over 65 will spend at least 1 – 5 years  or more in a nursing home. This number is expected to increase as the incidences of Alzheimer’s increases.

 

Elder Law Keeps You From Going Broke

If a person in a nursing home goes through all of their retirement savings without planning ahead, they will find themselves on Medicaid with less than $2,000 in the bank and only $60 per month to live on. That’s less than $2 dollar a day! There’s not much dignity in living on two dollars a day.

That’ s why it’ s so important to us to make sure that families have the right Elder Law and Elder Care plan for long-term care now, before it’s too late. If you wait too long, you will find yourselves out of money and out of options at one of the most frail and vulnerable times of your lives.

Protect A Lifetime Of Savings With A Good Elder Law Plan

An Elder Law Attorney:

  • Can help you/your family save hundreds of thousands of dollars, even if a loved one is already in a nursing home
  • Can help your family navigate the minefield of crisis healthcare
  • Understands how to obtain valuable governmental benefits for long term care costs
  • Specializes in protecting your assets during your life
  • Uses a “life planning” approach, not just a “death planning” approach
  • Is always looking for ways to keep your loved ones out of court, in the event of a long term care crisis or even your death
  • Cultivates relationships with nursing homes, health care providers, respite care providers, and other businesses necessary to the comfort and care of your loved ones, so you have the right resources
  • Also does “regular” estate planning, such as wills and revocable living trusts
  • Keeps private family matters private, which does not happen if the court needs to get involved in any way
  • Isn’t just for “rich people”
  • Saves money in the long run!

Have Elder Law Questions Or NEED Help? Call us today! (248) 278-1511

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