Elder Law Articles, Uncategorized

Elder Law Update – At Large Edition June 2009 Vol II

Special White Paper Report   Retirement: Have You Prepared?   When planning for retirement it is best that people of different disciplines and trainings work at the table together.  CPAs, financial advisors and elder law attorneys need to put their various disciplines and expertise together to suggest advantages and disadvantages of various options.  One area that needs to be investigated is the area dealing with pensions and social security.  Before determining which pension options to select not only should there be investment considerations but also determination of what the exposure is for long-term care costs.  An analysis needs to be made of what benefits are available for needs such as housing and long-term care.  An examination should be made of Medicaid, Medicare, VA Benefit, what is offered through the Community Care Program through the Illinois Department of Aging and a number of other resources.  Once a determination is made as to what benefits might be available the next analysis should determine how to shift the risk of long-term care planning to the extent possible.  This is extremely important when there is a spouse who will continue to live in the community.  The protection of assets for community spouse can be achieved through the usage of asset transfers, trusts, long-term care insurance and annuities. When considering retirement this is an excellent time to examine your place on the “Elder Care Journey” and make a determination as to whether you have the appropriate estate plan in place.  The Wills, Trusts and Powers of Attorney that you executed 20 years ago when the children were small may no longer serve their purpose.  Rather, these documents may now work against you by transferring assets from a healthy spouse to an ill spouse while the ill spouse it trying to qualify for needs based governmental benefits.  Proper health care and financial powers of attorney need to be obtained to make sure there is someone designated to be able to act in your stead.  The health care power gives another person the ability to access information about your medical needs and consent to various treatments.  A financial power of attorney allows the agent to pay bills, transfer assets and engage in long-term care planning if that authorization is built into the financial power of attorney.  A review of retirement assets should be made in conjunction with the review of the estate planning documents.  Consistency about beneficiary designations needs to be created. Finally, when we look at retirement planning, the paradigm in which your life situation is analyzed needs to change.  Traditionally, attorneys have asked questions such as “What happens if you die?”  The new question that needs to be asked is “What happens if you don’t die, but become ill for a long period of time?”   Preparing for retirement should be something that we embrace and work hard for so that we can ensure that the golden years are protected.  Again, assembling a good team of advisors will enhance your chances in obtaining the right result.   P.S.      Also, don’t miss our new workshop: “Don’t Go Broke in a Nursing Home”, beginning this fall.  Long Term Care Planning Attorneys The “3 Phase” Lawyers   Legal Counsel Assisting You in the 3 Phases of Your Life:   –           Maturing Years – Will, Trust, Taxes, and Asset Protection –           Senior Years – Long Term Care and Nursing Home Protection –           Post Death Years – Estate, Probate, and Trust Administration     “Educate to Motivate”   Anthony B. Ferraro Attorney-CPA The Law Offices of Anthony B. Ferraro, LLC The Estate & Trust, Elder and Asset Protection Law Firm Columbia Centre I 5600 N. River Road, Suite 764  Rosemont, IL 60018  PH (847) 292-1220 FAX (847) 292-1221 Websiteabferrarolaw.com Emailabferraro@abferrarolaw.com NOTE: The information contained in this message is confidential and may be protected by the attorney-client privilege and/or the work product doctrine.  If you have received this electronic message in error, please reply to the sender and destroy this message. 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This document is for discussion purposes only and is not intended to be, nor should it be, considered as legal advice.  You should never attempt Medicaid planning, Estate Planning, Probate, or Estate and Trust Administration without the advice of competent legal counsel.