Financial institutions like banks are now demanding up-to-date documents when dealing with both powers of attorney and revocable living trusts. This impacts Medicaid and long term care.
If you have a power of attorney for property, it probably says that your loved one can act on your behalf as your agent. But because Medicaid has very complicated rules, someone acting on your behalf may need to make changes to the way your assets are held. Typical power of attorneys or property do not allow your agent to make changes to your estate plan or create other documents that can protect you and your healthy spouse from going broke because of long term care costs.
One thing many traditional estate planning attorneys are doing for married couples is creating a joint revocable living trust, which often transforms itself into an irrevocable trust when one spouse becomes disabled. Once this happens, the healthy spouse would not be allowed to make changes in the way the assets are held; thus forcing the healthy spouse to spend an excessive amount of assets to care for the ill spouse before he or she can qualify for Medicaid. This is something we elder law attorneys want to prevent from happening.
Nobody wants to be out of money. Our job as elder attorneys is to help you receive quality healthcare and preserve your options. Thus, your plan should be updated to ensure absolute solvency if possible, legally and ethically. This includes a power of attorney that allows your agent to be able to take very special actions to protect you and your loved ones financially.
Please contact me today if you would like me to review your current documents to make sure you have the protection you deserve.
-Anthony B. Ferraro
Why is it important to stray from traditional estate planning?
Because many professionals have been trained to prepare estate plans by using the “death plan” mentality. Also, since the world today is rapidly changing, doesn’t that mean our estate plans should too?
Most people today tend to create “Sweetheart” wills at the suggestion their advisors. In this case, the attorney will ask you a couple of questions like: your name, your loved one’s name, and who you want to leave things too when you die. Today this is overly simplistic.
What is most important is that people create wills that follow the “death” rules of estate planning, BUT also will address what will happen if you have a long-term illness before your death.
Long term care requirements dramatically change both your wills, trusts and powers of attorney and your course of action.
Therefore, you must address long term care issues.
-Anthony B. Ferraro