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Life Care Planning

We're Living Longer! That's a Good Thing...Isn't It??

By | Life Care Planning | No Comments

If you lay awake at night wondering how you will pay for long term care expenses, you are not alone.  Fortunately, with medical advances and educational health awareness, we are living longer. That’s a good thing…right? Well, unfortunately, the cost of healthcare has gone through the roof. In fact, the national average cost for a private nursing home is approximately $77,000 per year. In the Pima and Maricopa Counties of Arizona, the average cost is approximately $6,400 per month.

What are some ways to pay for long term care? Actually, there are a myriad of options to help pay for long-term healthcare costs. I will address just a few of the more common options in this posting. First, you can make a monthly withdrawal from the bank savings account. Do you have an extra $6,400 per month to pay for healthcare costs? For most Americans the answer is “No”.  However, this is the method that most Americans start with due to a lack of awareness of the other options our there.  Many Americans have faced bankruptcy due to the overwhelming costs of long term care.

Second, apply for long-term care insurance. The first stumbling block might be the qualification process, which often has strict requirements. Assuming you get over the qualification hurdle, the policies have the potential to increase considerably over time and may have to be dropped because they are not affordable.

And finally, an individual can apply for government assistance through the federal program called Medicaid. Although this is becoming a very popular option, there are many stringent requirements that must be met before the government will step in and help with payment of long-term healthcare costs.

We must not ignore the statistics that reveal our life-spans are becoming longer. The best plan of attack against the rising healthcare costs is to start planning today. Where do you start? By planning ahead you can get through the application processes and find ways to use the best of each payment method.  Please see one of our experienced estate planning attorneys for a free consultation to review your plan of attack. Schedule your appointment by calling 888.222.1328.

 

What the Attorneys of Morris Hall Can Do For You:
The attorneys at Morris Hall have 100’s of years of combined experience ensuring that families’ assets are protected from probate, unnecessary taxes, creditors, ex-spouses and Medicaid spend-down.  The attorneys also help those in Arizona and New Mexico to apply for and receive Medicaid assistance and Veterans Benefits.  Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead.  Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe.  Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!

This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

Assisted Living and Long-Term Care Insurance

By | Life Care Planning | No Comments

In my experience as a person working with the older population, I am often approached by my friends and colleagues asking how to protect themselves in the future as they age. I always recommend - with emphasis - long-term care insurance. While there are a large number of choices for assisted living providers, cost plays an instrumental factor in narrowing the options. Having a long-term care policy can increase the choices for a person needing care, making it possible for them to find the best placement option.

Assisted living, or residential care, is a type of living arrangement in which personal care services are provided, such as meals, housekeeping, and assistance with activities of daily living. Another important aspect that assisted living communities provide is the security and socialization that so many older adults would not generally be able to access when living alone in their own home. For most assisted living communities, such as the one in which I work, the goal is to keep people as independent as possible and decrease the likelihood of needing to move into a nursing home.

For many people, assisted living is an option, but for those with dementia, chronic diseases and ailments, the move to assisted living becomes unavoidable. When this type of move becomes imminent, many questions arise. The first being what type of housing would be the most appropriate – whether to choose a  larger community versus an adult care home. The second question is naturally how the care will be paid for. Since Medicare does not cover any of the cost associated with long-term care, the cost must be covered out of pocket.

For those who must pay privately, a long-term care policy can lessen or even remove the financial burden that assisted living can create. In theTucsonarea, the cost of assisted living ranges from $1500 to $3500. If more care is needed or a memory care community that provides a higher level of care is necessary, that cost can double. While there will be many different options available for assisted living throughout the pricing spectrum, the larger communities with more amenities higher standards of the quality and socialization for their residents will be at the higher end of the pricing scale.

Having had the opportunity to work with many people during the transition to an assisted living community, I have found that the feelings they experience can often be somewhat overwhelming. Change is often very difficult, and as the changes accumulate strong emotions can form. In most instances the feelings are quickly turned positive, and not having to worry about where the money will come from by having a long-term care insurance policy certainly alleviates some of the burden during the move. Many people who are not fortunate enough to have a policy will often struggle with the financial aspects of the decision while those with a long-term care insurance policy do not have to worry about the cost of care.

In my years of experience working in the healthcare field, I have come to understand all of the factors that the move to assisted living can include. I know for myself that I would not want cost to play a factor in the decision I would have to make for myself or someone that I love. As a provider, I am often assured that once a long-term policy claim has been approved, a huge burden is removed from both the community and the family, allowing us to focus on providing quality in life at all stages. With that, I encourage all of you to talk with your long-term care planners about options for your own future.

Kelly Dodds is the Community Relations Coordinator at Encore Senior Village in Tucson. Encore Senior Village is an assisted living community providing specialized memory care for those that are living with memory impairments. Located on the Tucson Medical Center Campus, Encore Senior Village creates a home-like environment allowing for secured freedom. The nationally recognized Rediscovery Program was developed to bring quality of life for each resident, focusing on their remaining abilities. For more information, please call Encore Senior Village at (520) 320-7505.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

Long Term Care Insurance and Why We All May Need It

By | Life Care Planning | No Comments

What do you do when you are on a fixed retirement income and your necessary care costs are more than you can afford?  Unfortunately, this is becoming a common occurrence in our nation.  In fact, your odds of needing long-term care (LTC) during your lifetime are about 50%, and with the average cost per month hovering around $6,000, you should start preparing now.

With over 500,000 individuals and families have become destitute each year due to LTC expenses, it is especially important that you are able to find the care you need and have the means to pay for it.

I never imagined the kind of devastation that can be caused by a loved one going into LTC until I had to deal with it personally when my grandfather was admitted to a LTC facility.  Luckily he had a LTC insurance policy that covered the first three years of his stay.  However, now we have to bleed through his assets at an average cost of $6,600 a month, which does not include his medications or other medical bills.  It is saddening to think that this cost of care is only going to increase over time.

At Morris Hall we help thousands of individuals and families to find the necessary care and to also find ways to pay for it.  There are multiple ways to cover the costs of this care and MH can help you put together a plan to ensure you or your loved one are properly taken care of.  Contact us at 888.222.1328 to find out how we can help.

About Morris Hall:
At Morris Hall, we have focused our legal practice on estate planning for over 40 years.  Along with estate planning, our attorneys help clients and their families with matters of probate, trust administration, wills, power of attorneys, business planning, succession planning, legacy planning, charitable gifting and other important legal aspects.  We also have divisions in financial, real estate and accounting to help you incorporate all of your planning together, ensuring that everything works perfectly for your needs and situation. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead.  Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe.  Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!

This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

Seminar in Tempe, AZ: The Before and After of a Living Trust - July 19th

By | Elder Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning, Life Care Consultants, Life Care Planning, Seminar announcement, Trust Administration | No Comments

Thursday, July 19th, 2012
2:00pm-4:00pm
The Before and After of a Living Trust Friendship Village Tempe
2645 East Southern Avenue
Tempe, AZ 85282
(Click here for a Googlemap)

At this presentation we will discuss:

  • The ins& outs of the Medicare system
  • What options are available for your assistance as you age
  • Addressing elder care needs and incapacity
  • What steps to take after a death
  • How to put trust documents into affect
  • How an estate is administered and details your beneficiaries should know
  • The true value of your estate planning documents
  • The protections your beneficiaries gain from your estate plan

register

Alzheimer’s at 59? Tucson Attorney Asks, "What Would You Do?"

By | Celebrity Estates, Estate Planning, Life Care Consultants, Life Care Planning | No Comments

Pat Summit, Women's Basketball Coach, Alzheimer's DiseaseThis week, Pat Summitt, the head women’s basketball coach at Tennessee, and the coach with the most wins in college basketball history, announced she is stepping down. Ten months ago, Pat was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. After 38 years as head coach, Pat will continue to be involved with the Lady Vols basketball program as “head coach emeritus,” but has officially turned over the coaching responsibilities to her long-time assistant coach.

So, what’s in store for Pat and her family as they deal with Alzheimer’s? That’s hard to tell, but there are a few things that are certain. First, Alzheimer’s is a progressive condition, which means Pat’s condition will worsen over time. Already, Alzheimer’s has affected Pat’s personal and professional life: Where she was once able to manage the high pressure and quickly changing responsibilities on game day, Alzheimer’s has made it impossible for her to function in that responsibility. In the future, she will most likely need assistance with even some of her day to day activities, such as dressing and bathing, preparing her food, and managing her finances.

Second, Pat fortunately has a strong support system of family and loved ones who are able to help as needed. Unlike many Americans, she also has the financial resources to pay for the services and assistance that her family and friends can’t provide.  Those of us without those funds need to find other resources to cover the expensive costs of long-term care.

Early onset Alzheimer’s makes up approximately five percent of those 4 million Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. What if you, or someone you love, were part of that 4 million? Are you prepared?

You can start preparing now by going through the questions listed below.  Take the time to thoughtfully answer each question, and share your answers with your family. If you find the answers lacking, start today to find the resources and assistance you may need in the coming months and years.

  1. Am I being treated by a physician who is knowledgeable about Alzheimer’s disease and who treats me and not my disease?
  2. Do I have a supportive network of family members and/or friends who are willing and able to assist me with managing my personal, legal and financial matters?
  3. Have I arranged for someone to have the legal authority to manage my personal needs and care once I am no longer able to make those decisions?
  4. Do my family members know my desires regarding care treatment that I do or do not want as my disease progresses?
  5. Do my family members know what resources are available in my community to help them manage my care and allow me to have the best quality of life?
  6. Have I made arrangements for someone to have the legal authority to handle my financial affairs without costly and difficult court intervention?
  7. Do I have the financial resources to pay for my care without depriving my family of resources they need?
  8. Have I planned for family members to take advantage of all resources, public and private, which will help provide and pay for services I will need through the progress of my disease?
  9. Do I have contingency plans in case the people I depend on for care are unable or unwilling to help when needed?

At Morris Hall, our hope is that you will never know the pain and uncertainty that comes when you or a loved one are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, or any of the other debilitating chronic diseases. We know the reality is that many of our clients and their families will have to face these serious medical conditions head on. That is why we have experienced elder law attorneys, case managers and other professionals with years of experience helping clients and their families navigate the complex maze of legal, social, financial, medical and personal choices that will inevitably arise. Talk to us if you have questions or need direction, but don’t wait. Start preparing today!

 

What the Attorneys of Morris Hall Can Do For You:
The attorneys at Morris Hall have 100’s of years of combined experience ensuring that families’ assets are protected from probate, unnecessary taxes, creditors, ex-spouses and Medicaid spend-down.  The attorneys also help those in Arizona and New Mexico to apply for and receive Medicaid assistance and Veterans Benefits.  Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead.  Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe.  Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!

This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

Trust - The key to Picking your Agents

By | Life Care Consultants, Life Care Planning | No Comments

Whether you live in Arizona, New Mexico or any other state, having the right people and making the right decisions, is key to a properly executed estate plan.

One of the critical decisions you need to make during the creation of your estate plan is who to designate as your agent(s)? Who do you want to make financial decisions on your behalf? Who do you want to make health care decisions on your behalf? This is not an easy decision, nor is it one you should take lightly.

The people you pick to act on your behalf are called "Agents" - they work for you, for your benefit. The legal documents that grant the agents their power is what defines how much or how little power each agent has. The attorney drafting the documents will work to meet your needs and wishes in the grant of power, but the selection of the agent is a personal decision that rests with you.

When selecting your agents, some factors to consider include:

  • Ability of the person to act for you, when you need them to
  • Comfort that the person will act in the way you want
  • Is that person willing to be your agent?
  • How well do you know you the person?
  • How well does the person know you?
  • In financial matters, how good is the person with figures and calculations?
  • In health care matters, can the person balance the emotions of the situation with adherence to your desires?
  • Are there other influences (such as a sibling or spouse) that would impact the person's ability to adhere to your desires?

The bottom line is: Do you trust the person to act in your best interest, when you are unable to act for yourself?

When you select a person who you trust to be your agent, you will have the peace of mind that the plan you have put together will be executed in your best interest!

About Morris Hall:
At Morris Hall, we have focused our legal practice on estate planning for over 40 years. Along with estate planning, our attorneys help clients and their families with matters of probate, trust administration, wills, powers of attorney, business planning, succession planning, legacy planning, charitable gifting and other important legal aspects. We also have divisions in financial, real estate and accounting to help you incorporate all of your planning together, ensuring that everything works perfectly for your needs and situation. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead. Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe. Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contributed by Attorney James P. Plitz

If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy:

Essential Documents for Mental Disability Planning

Alzheimer's Disease - What Is It and What Can Be Done About It?

Plan for the Unexpected Today, for Tomorrow May Be Too Late

Terri Schiavo and the Need for a Living Will

Living Will - Why Every American Should Have One

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

Alzheimer's Disease - What It Is and What Can Be Done About It

By | Life Care Consultants, Life Care Planning | No Comments

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive and degenerative disease which affects the brain, causing difficulties with memory, behavior and the gradual loss of multiple mental functions and abilities. It is estimated that as many as 5.1 million American's currently suffer from Alzheimer's disease, making it the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

The disease is the result of the destruction and death of nerve cells, causing memory failure, personality changes, problems carrying out daily activities and other symptoms. Biopsies of those who have died from Alzheimer's show amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain as well as the loss of connections between nerve cells (neurons) - all of which explain the degeneration of the brain's capabilities to function properly during the course of Alzheimer's disease.

Common Signs and Symptoms

- Memory Loss

- Difficulties with language and communication

- Misplacing items

- Getting lost at familiar places or on familiar routes

- Personality changes and diminishing social skills

- Loss of interest in favorite hobbies and activities

- Difficulty with common and familiar tasks

- Poor judgment

- Difficulty with daily activities

Prevention and Treatment

So far, knowledge on the treatment, cause and prevention of Alzheimer's disease is very limited. Currently there is no cure and no definitive known cause. Generally treatments focus on attempting to slow the progression of the disease, manage behavior problems and symptoms such as confusion, sleep problems and agitation.

As there is no known cause, methods of prevention are highly speculative. It is always recommended that one eat healthy, exercise and avoid habits that negatively affect ones health in order to lesson the odds of later developing Alzheimer's. However, there is no concrete proof that these methods or any other methods will prevent the disease.

What to Do Now?

If you or a loved one are suffering from Alzheimer's, there are some important steps to take.

1. See your physician for an official diagnosis. Be sure to ask questions and get as much information as you can from your practitioner.

2. Make a plan for the future that entails who will serve as a caretaker; would in-home assistance or a nursing home be preferred; how to pay for care; who to designate for important legal, financial and healthcare decisions.

3. Get all legal affairs in order.

Getting Legal Affairs in Order

During the course of Alzheimer's, mental functioning continues to deteriorate, creating an ever increasing need for support and assistance. It is imperative that one or more persons are selected to handle financial, medical, healthcare and other important decisions on the behalf of the individual suffering from Alzheimer's.

Setting up a Power of Attorney (POA), Healthcare Power of Attorney (HPOA) a Living Will and a HIPAA document are imperative. For superior protection of a loved one and their assets, a living trust should also be created. These various documents are crucial for ensuring that your loved one is taken care of and that trustworthy individuals are legally designated to handle important affairs.

Morris Hall (MH) has focused on estate planning for forty years and can help guide you and your loved one in the direction that will best help you prepare for the road ahead. Our attorneys and our life care specialists can help you with everything from legal planning, financial assistance, help for caregivers, additional resources and more.

Find out more information and schedule a free consultation by calling 888.222.1328 or visiting us online at morristrust.com.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.