an online resource for baby boomers

Long-Term Care Planning
Difficult Choices

Jane Doe contacted our office recently for assistance in long term care planning for herself and her husband, John. Jane has been married for over forty years to John, and the couple has two grown children. Jane is quite active and in reasonably good health. However, John has multiple physical health problems including macular degeneration, Parkinsonís Disease, and heart disease. He is wheelchair bound.

The Doe children both communicate with their parents regularly, but unfortunately live out of state and are too far away to help her. Jane is unable to care for John alone, but fears the unknowns that surround nursing home placement. Jane has limited experience with financial matters, and even less exposure to the complicated nursing home admission process.

The coupleís largest asset Ė and the one Jane worries about most Ė is their marital home. She wishes for John to remain in the home, but realizes the time has come now where John cannot. Jane fears she may run out of money in a hurry if she has to pay for a nursing home, as well as being permanently separated from John. The couple has about $200,000 in combined marital assets, excluding their home and one car.

After meeting with Jane, we assured her that she had numerous options for planning that would suit the coupleís needs. Our first step was to help Jane secure admission to a nursing home that suited Johnís needs but was close to her home. It was essential for Janeís well-being that she remain very actively involved in Johnís care so as to limit the loneliness and loss of control she experienced when John moved.

Our next step was to update the coupleís estate documents to adequately protect John in the event Jane dies before he does. Specifically, Janeís Will had to be revised to protect Johnís Medicaid eligibility, and both Does needed Durable Financial Powers of Attorney, Health Care Powers of Attorney, and Living Wills.

Finally, we structured Janeís financial planning to accommodate both Johnís short-term need for suitable nursing home care and his long-term plan to qualify for Medicaid by turning excess assets otherwise available to pay the nursing home, into an income a monthly stream payable to Jane to assist her I paying her monthly expenses. We were able to secure additional monies from Johnís monthly income for Jane through the Medicaid appeals process.

We were able to assist and advise Jane in the nursing home admission process. Jane has been able to continue her independent, active lifestyle while knowing Joseph is receiving the care he needs. Most importantly, we were able to provide Jane with the peace of mind she needed in knowing her home was protected. She was able to preserve the vast majority of the coupleís life savings for each of their benefit, while John received the quality care he needed.

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Boomers Resource Guide is a special supplement to the Senior Citizen's Guide