Estate planning sounds like a process that only focuses on your death. While handling the details of what will happen when you die is a big part of estate planning, there is more to the process.
A comprehensive estate plan will typically also include documents that take effect when you experience medical events, like a stroke, seizure or coma. Your estate plan can also be a tool to help you get the care you need when you are older.
Changing the way that you hold certain property or creating a trust now could help if you ever need more intensive medical support in the future.
There are lots of gaps in Medicare coverage
Medicare is an incredible program that helps ensure that adults over the retirement age have access to decent health insurance even if they don’t work anymore. However, Medicare won’t cover extensive inpatient services, such as a long-term stay in a rehabilitative facility or residence in a nursing home. Additionally, Medicare won’t cover your costs if you need nursing help in your home.
You will have to qualify for Medicaid to have coverage for those kinds of expenses. Trying to qualify for Medicaid when you find out you need it can put you in an unfortunate position. The federal government looks back at five years of your financial records and holds you accountable for gifts and transfers during that time. If you didn’t start planning at least 60 months before you need Medicaid benefits, you may have to pay out-of-pocket when you have limited resources already.
Proactive planning protects you and the people you love
Making a plan that will support you if your medical situation declines means that you don’t have to totally consume all the resources you’ve acquired during your life to pay for your medical care. If you can’t qualify for Medicaid, you will have to pay out-of-pocket until you diminish your resources until you can finally receive benefits.
Planning ahead as part of your estate plan will reduce the value of the property you hold in your own name, making it easier for you to qualify. The same planning process can also change the ownership of your assets so that Medicaid and other creditors can’t make claims against that property after you die.
You get the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’ll get the care you need no matter what happened, and your family has the protection of not needing to incur debt to cover the cost of your care as you age.