Lincolnton Elder Law Attorney

Ideally, your retirement truly will be your golden years. However, healthcare costs, concerns about what you’ll pass on to the next generation, and worries about what will happen if you’re unable to make your own decisions can all complicate this life stage. Fortunately, there are ways to plan for all of these eventualities. Whether you’re preparing for your own future or figuring out how to care for a parent or other aging relative, a Lincolnton elder law attorney can help you arrange the right solutions. 

A comprehensive estate plan is usually the best place to start. Your Lincolnton elder law attorney can help you identify the most efficient ways to transfer your wealth to the ones you leave behind. Depending on your financial situation, you may need to either purchase long-term care insurance privately or plan to rely on Medicaid. Your elder law attorney will help you choose the best approach. Finally, your Lincolnton elder law attorney can set up the documents you need to protect yourself or your loved one if you can no longer make decisions. 

What Should My Estate Plan Include?

The most basic estate planning document is a will, which states where you want your property to go after your death. You’ll also need to name an executor, who will be responsible for making sure your wishes are carried out. Many people choose a trusted family member, but your Lincolnton elder law attorney can also take on this role if you prefer. A will specifies who will inherit what. However, it doesn’t stop your estate from going through probate. 

Probate is the formal court process that validates a will. North Carolina offers a simplified probate process for estates worth $30,000 or less. Otherwise, the process can be slow, which can be a significant concern if you have heirs who will rely on your estate financially. One way to avoid probate is to create a living trust. This lets you transfer property to the trust and designate beneficiaries who will inherit the trust. After your death, the trust is transferred to the beneficiaries quickly, without the need for probate. Your Lincolnton elder law lawyer can help you decide which estate planning structures you need and set them up correctly. 

What’s the Difference Between Guardianship and Power of Attorney?

When a court determines that an elderly person isn’t able to make decisions about their health or finances, it may appoint a guardian to take on these responsibilities. Guardianship is a restrictive arrangement that doesn’t give the ward, or person the guardian is appointed to, much or any control over the situation. This means guardianship should be used as a last resort. If you have a loved one who has lost their decision-making capacity, an elder law attorney can help you secure guardianship. This will reduce the chance of someone you don’t know being appointed as a guardian and allow you to make decisions in your loved one’s best interests. 

Ideally, proper planning can prevent the need for guardianship. Designating powers of attorney before they’re needed gives the elder much more agency. Power of attorney gives the specified person the ability to take legal and financial actions on your behalf. This includes buying or selling cars or real estate, depositing or withdrawing money from your bank accounts, or making utility payments. When appointing an Lincolnton elder law attorney, you have control over when the power of attorney takes effect, what the person can do, and when and whether the arrangement will expire. 

You can appoint either a general power of attorney, who has the broad ability to act on your behalf, or a special Lincolnton elder law attorney, who can only act in limited ways. You can also arrange the power of attorney documents so that they will only apply after you’ve lost the capacity to make decisions. Since your power of attorney will have access to your money and assets, it’s important to choose someone you trust and work with your Lincolnton elder law lawyer to ensure they don’t have more power than necessary. 

Should I Use Medicaid or Buy Long Term Care Insurance?

Nursing home care, assisted living, or in-home health care are incredibly expensive. Since many seniors will need these services at some point, it’s important to consider how you’ll pay for them ahead of time. There are two major options: relying on Medicaid and purchasing private long-term care insurance. 

Medicaid is a government program designed to cover nursing home costs for low-income seniors who don’t have much in their retirement savings accounts. This means there are both income and asset limitations to qualify for Medicaid. In some cases, you may be able to place assets in an irrevocable trust to exclude them from your Medicaid eligibility determination. Your Lincolnton elder law attorney can help you determine whether this is a good idea in your situation. Medicaid will generally cover your expenses if you qualify medically for nursing home care. However, you may have a limited choice of facilities that accept Medicaid, and Medicaid doesn’t usually cover in-home care or other nursing home alternatives. 

Like other private insurance policies, the cost of long-term care insurance depends on factors like your age and the amount of coverage the policy offers. These policies can be expensive, but they usually offer more flexibility than Medicaid does. This includes paying for private rooms in a nursing home, in-home care, or assisted living care.

Looking for a Lincolnton Elder Law Attorney?

Ensuring that you and your loved ones have a financially secure retirement is complicated and can require multiple legal steps. Whether you’re planning in advance or caring for a loved one who has lost their decision-making capacity, an elder law attorney in Lincolnton can advise on which tools are right for your situation. 

The experienced elder law attorneys at King Law understand these complexities and are prepared to help you navigate them. Give us a call at (888) 748-5464 or (888) 748-KING. Alternatively, complete our contact form, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.