You probably already know you should make a will and plan for passing on your assets, but you may be missing out on an equally important step. Planning for what happens after death is necessary, but it’s also crucial to make arrangements to care for yourself while you are still alive, especially when dealing with health difficulties that may require extended care.
Quality of life planning is essentially mapping out your future years by hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. Life care plans work through a combination of estate and asset protection, strategies to qualify for public assistance, and additional services specifically aimed at the unique needs of senior citizens.
Why Is Quality of Life Planning Important?
Everyone will face challenges as they grow older, from mobility issues that come with age to more serious problems like chronic disease, disability, or dementia. To tackle those difficult life changes, you need a system in place so you are cared for even if you can’t make your own medical decisions.
A quality of life plan handles those issues by finding places in your existing estate or asset planning where gaps need to be filled with life care decisions. By working with an elder law attorney, your life plan helps to define and prioritize your specific health and financial goals, while ensuring you maintain as much independence as possible.
In particular, a life care plan is aimed at anticipating your long-term health needs and preparing for costs associated with treatment, medication, hospital visits, therapy, in-home care, and so on.
It’s important to understand that life care planning is a collaborative effort between you, your attorney, and any family members with power of attorney to make decisions for you. Everyone involved needs to understand your medical diagnosis, know what you want, and be made aware of what they need to do to abide by your wishes and maintain your finances.
When Should You Start Thinking About a Life Care Plan?
While life care planning can take place at any time, even in the midst of a crisis, the best time to speak with an elder law attorney is as far in advance as possible. Your circumstances can change in an instant, and it’s better to think ahead before a medical diagnosis requires immediate changes. You don’t want to be caught in a situation where you need someone else to make decisions about your health but haven’t prepared them for that role.
Earlier planning is also crucial for fiduciary reasons, as financial decisions you’ve made over the past five years can prevent you from receiving Medicaid assistance to pay for a nursing home stay. These issues need to be addressed with an attorney as soon as possible so you aren’t left without any options when you can no longer care for yourself at home.
A life care plan doesn’t necessarily have to be directly for you, either. You may need to consider life quality planning if you have a family member experiencing declining health who needs to begin preparing for the next stage of their life.
What Should You Discuss With Your Elder Law Attorney for Life Care Planning?
To come up with a system that covers all aspects of your financial, health, and family needs, be prepared to discuss these issues with an experienced elder law professional:
- Figuring out how to pay for in-home care or an extended nursing home stay
- Ensuring the right person who shares your values and outlook is making decisions on your behalf, both for your finances and your healthcare
- Determining future guardianship of children, as well as special needs trusts for disabled children who can’t care for themselves
- Deciding how your family will take part in these plans
With a comprehensive life care plan in place, you can ensure the nursing home and creditors get paid, but you still retain as much of your assets as possible for personal use or to pass onto your spouse and children. You worked hard your whole life to build up your nest egg, so you and your family should get to keep what you’ve earned.
Protect Yourself and Your Family Today By Contact Our Experienced Wilmington Elder Law Attorney Today
Are you or a loved one starting to think about what lies ahead in life’s journey? Start a consultation with Legacy Lawyers so we can help you maintain your dignity and financial independence in your later years.