An Estate Plan and Long-Term Care Plan MUST Work Together
Your estate plan and your long-term care plan MUST work together. Why? Before we answer that question, we’ll start by briefly explaining the major factors involved in setting up each plan. We’re Phelps LaClair, located in Chandler, Mesa, and Phoenix Arizona. As an estate planning law firm, we’re also well qualified to streamline your estate plan and your Long-Term Care Plan into one seamless plan that works for you and your entire family.
Estate Plan, briefly defined
A plan that protects your financial assets and delineates how your assets will be handled after your death, or in the event that you become incapacitated.
An estate plan sets up the legal documents that determine:
- Who will be in charge of the responsibilities of the estate after you’re gone (the trustee);
- How your home, pensions, stocks, and other assets are to be distributed;
- When inheritances are to be passed on, e.g. as outright lump sums to your heirs, or as distributions over a period of time;
- Any giving to charitable causes, funding education for children or grandchildren, and more;
- A way of minimizing payment of estate taxes;
- And directives about funeral plans.
Long-Term Care Plan, briefly defined
A plan that protects your financial assets in the event that you and/or your spouse need to spend time in a Long-Term Care Hospital, a skilled nursing facility, or you need custodial care for carrying out basic activities of life like bathing, dressing, eating, etc.
A Long-Term Care Plan usually includes legally establishing:
- Protection of your assets from a possible spend-down of your finances as a result of Medicaid requirements;
- Safeguarding your primary residence so the remaining healthy spouse can continue to live there without financial distress;
- Advance directives concerning end-of-life decisions regarding your health;
- Establishment of a durable power of attorney for health and for finances, in the event that you are no longer able to make decisions.
Why These Two Plans Must Be Created to Function Together
Without careful consideration of details in your Long-Term Care plan, your estate plan could be vulnerable. For example, the type(s) of trust or will you’ve established for your estate plan may not be adequate for protecting you from a Medicaid Spend-down. In addition, without planning ahead, it’s possible that conflict could arise between the trustee(s) of your estate and your financial and/or health durable powers of attorney. And setting up your primary residence in a Long-Term Care plan should dovetail with the instructions you’ve included with your estate plan, or unexpected loss could be the result. And these are just a few of the many reasons for being certain both plans have been created with the other plan in mind.
By working with a qualified Estate Planning Lawyer who is also experienced in Elder Care Law, you can make sure that you’re ready for any unexpected turn of life’s events. The solution to making sure these two plans work together may be as simple as interpolating certain trusts into an already established estate plan. Creating both plans as a whole entity that will protect you, your spouse, and your loved ones is done easily with the right advice and the right voices of experience to guide you through the process.
If you live in the Phoenix Valley, Phelps LaClair can help. We’ve been helping families set up effective estate plans for more than 40 years, and we’re strong in understanding Arizona state law for Medicaid, as well as Long-Term Care needs for individuals. Whether you’re interested in creating an estate plan or a Long-Term Care plan—or making certain your plans will function together—we invite you to give us a call. Or, sign up for one of our free estate planning seminars in July and August, and meet us in person. We’d love to say hello and be part of helping you feel good about the future.