Protecting Assets From The Costs of Long Term Care

WHEN IS THE RIGHT TIME TO BEGIN PLANNING?

As everyones financial and medical backgrounds are different, so is the “right” time to begin planning.  The more time you have to plan before long term care is needed, the more options you may have and less stress you and your family will endure.  Anytime you have a concern about how you will pay for long term care for yourself or a loved one, it  may be time to begin the planning process.  Preemptive planning will give you peace of mind and allow you to:

  • Analyze your financial background
  • Ensure your legal documents are up to date and distribute your estate as you wish
  • Make sure the distribution of your estate will not jeopardize public benefits for others
  • Discuss options to allow loved ones to remain at home instead of a nursing home
  • Take steps to protect and preserve your assets, including your home
  • Research all community benefits programs applicable to your situation
  • Designate agents to make medical and financial decisions for you in the event you are unable to make decisions for yourself

Long term care, incapacity and death are not subjects we are comfortable discussing.  The earlier and more comprehensive we plan, the less stress our families will be faced with in the event uncomfortable decisions need to be made.

Elder Advisory Group Offers Free Resource Guide For Seniors

Senior Resource Center of Worcester County is now offering a free resource guide to Seniors in the Worcester County area.  Senior Resource Center of Worcester County (SRCWC) is a full-service elder advisory group assisting Seniors and their families in the areas of financial guidance, asset protection and care coordination.  SRCWC offers solutions in identifying and accessing options for care coordination and assists in comprehensive lifetime care planning.  For your free resource guide, see the SRC Worcester website or call 508.421.6766.

What If I Die Without A Will?

When discussing estate planning, I often hear the remark “I don’t need a Will”.  Many think that they don’t have a large enough estate, or that everything will automatically pass to their spouse.  That is not always the case.

If you die without a Will, Massachusetts law will control how your property will be distributed.  After payment of debts, expenses, administration and funeral costs, your property will be distributed as follows:

  • If the deceased leaves kindred but no children, the surviving spouse will get the first $200,000, plus one-half of the remaining personal and real property.  The balance will go to the kindred.
  • If the deceased leaves children, the surviving spouse will get one-half of the real and personal property and the balance will go to the children.
  • If the deceased leaves children but no spouse, all real and personal property will be distributed to the children.
  • If the deceased dies with no children or kindred, the surviving spouse will take all real and personal property.
  • If the deceased leaves no spouse, children or kindred, the estate passes to the Commonwealth.

Unless you have a valid Will at death, the State will determine exactly who receives your property.  Having a Will ensures that you, not the State, choose who receives your property.

Updating Your Will After the Birth of a Child

The birth of a child will bring many changes to your family’s lifestyle and added responsibilities.  In a perfect world, parents will guide their children as they grow older and have children of their own. As this world is not a perfect one, parents must plan for the unforeseen and choose a person to care for their children should something happen to them.

One of the responsibilities of a parent is naming a guardian to step in and raise their children if necessary.  Drafting a Will will allow you to do this.   Choosing who to name as guardian can be a difficult choice, but is one that must be made or will be made by others who may not know your family or your wishes.   Naming a guardian in your Will ensures that you, not the court system, will have the opportunity to choose that person.  You should choose, however, a person that has similar beliefs and ideas and will respect your wishes on how to raise your child.  Discussing your choice and keeping an open line of communication should ease the transition if a guardian is needed to care for your child.