A commentator on estate planning makes a telling and important point in a recent media piece regarding planning considerations and elder law.
That is this: Many people often — and understandably, in the absence of any detailed knowledge — consider general estate administration and elder law considerations to be two wholly distinct and disparate things.
“[I]t is easy,” says university scholar Brad Reid, “to consider the two issues in isolation.”
And, in doing so, he adds, it is also easy to make huge mistakes that adversely impact families down the road.
The reason for potential complications is this: Much that is relevant in estate planning for many families carries directly over to elder law matters and concerns, as well. A strong focus in only one area is a myopic endeavor that can scuttle planning considerations in a hurry at a future time. Planning in a vacuum and in less than a comprehensive manner leaves many families open to negative outcomes they never expected.
It is simply a fact of life that people age, with medical concerns becoming increasingly important in many families as partners advance in years. An elderly person receiving long-term care at a medical facility is not a rarity in the United States; rather, it is a commonplace, and preparing in a timely manner for the prospect can make the transition and overall process far more seamless than might otherwise be the case.
As Reid notes, Medicaid is a complicated “means-tested” program pursuant to which government examiners delve deeply into a family’s financial affairs to determine resources and income. Eligibility, Reid points out, “is highly complex” and often merits close consultation with an estate planning professional.
For many families, estate planning and an elder law focus go hand in hand, with a sound plan being both comprehensive and integrative.
“It is highly desirable,” Reid advises, “to undertake as much elder law and estate planning as far in advance as possible.”
A proven estate planning and elder law attorney can help materially with that process.