Estate Planning and Elder Law
As the number of older Americans continues to grow, we are dealing with health and legal concerns that most Americans fail to anticipate. Elder law attorneys, who are experienced in estate planning, are also excellent resources in preparing for long-term care, preventing elder abuse, obtaining government aid, and establishing guardianships. Your estate planning should include preparation for old age, including consultation with an attorney who is experienced in elder law.
Government programs such as Medicare cannot be your only safety net. Medicare only covers the first twenty days of nursing home care in full, and part of the cost for another eighty days. Medicare does not cover long-term health care or extended recovery time. Medicaid is designed to assist low-income citizens with medical bills, and will cover long-term care costs. However, individuals with higher incomes do not qualify, and can see their estates vanish given the cost of staying in a nursing home. An estate plan can allow you to relinquish assets over time in order to qualify for Medicaid. This helps you to prevent simply giving up your assets to pay for health care and nursing home expenses.
Medicaid will not allow you to simply transfer your assets immediately before entering a nursing home. You should consult with an experienced lawyer in order to plan ahead for your long-term care needs. While it is never too early to consider these possibilities, it is also never too late.
Contact a Iowa estate planning and probate lawyer representing clients in Manchester, Iowa today to schedule your initial consultation.
If your health deteriorates and you are unable to manage your own personal and financial affairs, state law can require that a conservator or guardian be appointed to look after your affairs. A conservator has the authority to make legal and financial decisions on behalf of a disabled person. In most states, a conservator is required to purchase a "surety bond" to protect the estate. The estate of the disabled person pays the cost and expenses of the conservator and any attorney's fees.
There can be disadvantages to this system. There is little guarantee that a court-appointed conservator will understand and work towards your goals or wishes for your estate. You should set up an estate plan, and choose a trusted person to manage your affairs if you are incapacitated. A health care directive or living will can provide direction to your doctors on whether to put you on life support. A durable health care power of attorney allows you to grant a trusted person the ability to make health care decisions on your behalf.
Early planning allows you to alleviate concerns over these issues before they come up. Given the potentially serious consequences of these decisions, it is vital to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure that your rights are protected and your estate planning needs are met.