As Riverside living trust attorneys, we take our responsibility to our fellow community members very seriously. We go the extra mile to educate people about the importance of preparing for the eventualities of aging, and we also do everything possible to provide information about trusts and other estate planning tools. With this in mind, let’s look at some checklist items that everyone should address.
In order to be able to leave inheritances to your loved ones, you have to retain your assets throughout your life. This can be easier said than done, because there is an enormous expense that you may face during your twilight years that can consume your financial legacy.
Most senior citizens will rely on Medicare as a source of health insurance during their retirement years. At the time of this writing, the age of eligibility is 65, but there have been discussions about raising the age to reduce spending. Medicare will pay for many health care expenses that seniors typically face, but there is a huge gap. This program will not pay for a stay in a nursing home or assisted living facility.
The majority of elders will someday need living assistance, and long-term care facilities are very expensive. In the Riverside area, a year stay in a room in a skilled nursing facility will typically cost well in excess of $102,000, and it is not uncommon for people to require multiple years of care. Assisted living communities are also quite expensive. If you live in a long-term care facility for a number of years, the accumulate costs can potentially erase all of your resources.
Medi-Cal is another government run health insurance program that will pay for long-term care if you can qualify. There are low asset limits, but if you take the right steps at the right times, you can protect your assets and qualify for Medi-Cal to pay for the cost of a skilled nursing facility if and when you need it.
Veteran’s Aid and Attendance
The cost for caregiving services in the home can range from $1,000 to $10,000 per month based on the amount of care needed and whether the care is being provided by relatives, by an unlicensed individual or by a certified caregiving agency. The cost of a RCFE (residential care for the elderly or board and care home) can range from $2,000 to $5,000 monthly. The monthly cost for an assisted living facility can range from $3,500 to over $7,000, depending on the level of care provided.
Another benefit to pay for the cost of caregiving and other long term care related expenses is Veteran’s Aid and Attendance. This benefit is available to some veterans and his or her widow(er) who served during a time of war. There are also income and asset requirements in order to qualify for the benefit. In 2018, the benefit can provide as much as $1,176 per month for a widow or widower of a veteran. The benefit for a single veteran can be as much as $1,830 per month in 2018. The benefit in 2018 for a married veteran can be as much as $2,169 per month. The benefit can be used to pay for caregiving expenses in the home or to assist with the cost of RCFE and assisted living facilities.
Many veterans who served during a time of war or their widows or widowers may not initially qualify for this benefit because of excessive income or assets to meet the eligibility requirements. However, as with Medi-Cal Planning, a veteran can work with our law firm to develop an asset preservation plan that will provide for additional income of a s much as $26,000 annually to pay for caregiving services.
Incapacity planning is the third piece of the puzzle. A significant percentage of people become unable to make sound decisions at some point in time, with some form of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease being the major culprit. A durable power of attorney for property allow you to designate trusted individuals to manage your financial affairs in the event of your incapacity. You could also execute an advance health care directive and a HIPAA pre-authorization form to designate your health care agent and state your wishes regarding the utilization of life-support measures in the event of your incapacity.
Our Riverside living trust attorneys are available if you would like to obtain more information, and you can give us a call at 951-888-1460 to schedule a consultation.