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Strategic Guidance For Life’s Next Move

Planning For Late Life And Beyond With The Help Of An Elder Law Attorney

At Legacy Law Firm, LLC, we provide a wide range of elder law services and representation to clients in and around Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. While you may not be familiar with the term “elder law,” you likely know about many of its components, which we discuss on this page.

What Is Elder Law?

Elder law is a term that has very broad connotations depending on the needs of the individual. Generally speaking, elder law encompasses:

  • Estate planning, including wills, trusts, and their administration
  • Medicaid asset protection and planning to prevent your and your spouse’s impoverishment
  • Preparing powers of attorney for financial and health care matters
  • Medicare review and claims
  • Guardianship/conservatorship
  • Advance health care directives

The No. 1 question most people have is, “Do I need to do some elder law or estate planning?” In short, the answer is probably yes. Without a plan in place, you have no control over where your assets will go or who will be in charge of handling your affairs if and when you are unable to do so for yourself. Moreover, if you do not have a plan in place and become incapacitated due to illness or injury, a probate guardianship may need to be initiated so the court can appoint a guardian to handle your affairs. The process can be very intrusive and embarrassing and requires multiple court appearances. With the proper plan in place, this can all be avoided.

Protecting Assets And Minimizing Risks

Additionally, the estate planning arena is changing. More lawsuits are being filed than ever before. Insurance helps, but it is often too expensive to obtain the large amount of coverage which may be needed. Additionally, the cost of skilled nursing care has spiked in recent years, and the average cost in northeast Ohio for such care is almost $10,000 per person per month. With these growing threats to the assets which you have worked a lifetime to obtain, it is more important than ever to take steps to ensure your legacy is preserved for your children, grandchildren and future generations. Our staff is well-versed in the various techniques which can be utilized to minimize your risks and protect your assets from those who would seek to take it away. Put our experience to work for you and take the first step in preserving your family’s legacy.

The Benefits And Problems Associated With Long-Term Care Insurance

One of the main methods people have utilized in the past to address the cost of nursing home is using a long-term care insurance policy. A long-term care insurance policy is designed to help pay for the costs of certain health care services, whether in the home or in a custodial setting. The type of care contemplated for these policies are generally for services related to your “ADL’s” or acts of daily living. These include assistance getting around, eating, drinking, dressing and bathing.

Typically, these types of plans will pay a daily amount for care, up to the policy limit for a limited amount of time. The benefits available vary depending on the company you choose, plan you select, and a variety of other factors including your health and age. In some cases, you may not be able to obtain long-term care insurance due to medical issues or other factors.

One of the problems that has crept up in the past few years is the cost of these plans. Overall, we have seen the premiums on these policies go up dramatically due, in part, to the rising costs of nursing home care. For many clients, obtaining or keeping these policies has become cost prohibitive. As such, other options may need to be explored to ensure that you and your loved ones will be able to obtain needed care without going broke.

If you are concerned about the costs of a nursing home or have questions about a long-term insurance policy, let us know! We will be glad to review your circumstances and advise you about the options available to you.

Life Insurance: A Basic Overview

Below, we’ve provided some information about what life insurance is, and what types of policies are available.

What Is Life Insurance?

A life insurance policy is a policy whereby an insurance company agrees to pay a death benefit to named beneficiaries in exchange for payment of a premium. The amount of the death benefit is up to you, but is generally recommended based on income and how many years of support you wish to provide for those who survive you. Usually, a basic health care examination is required before such a policy will be issued and a final price quoted. Keep reading to learn about the three basic types of life insurance policies.

Term Life Policies

Term life policies are typically the cheapest to obtain. These policies provide coverage for a set amount of time. Usually these last anywhere from 10 to 25 years. If the covered person passes away during the coverage period, the death benefit is paid out according to the beneficiary designation form. If the coverage period runs out and the covered person survives, the policy lapses and no benefit is paid. Occasionally, the issuing company will offer the option to extend the coverage period for an increased premium upon the expiration of the coverage period.

Universal Policy

Unlike a term policy, a universal life insurance policy is permanent as long as the premium gets paid. These policies are more flexible, and allow you to change the benefit amount and the resulting premium to be paid. They are usually more expensive to obtain than a term life insurance policy.

Whole Life Policy

Like a universal policy, this coverage lasts for the lifetime of the insured so long as any required premiums are paid. One of the key differences with a whole life insurance policy is that a universal policy accrues a cash surrender value. This amount is refunded back to the owner of the policy if the policy is cancelled prior to the covered person’s death. The danger here is that the cash surrender value of the life insurance policy is viewed as an available resource for purposes of Medicaid qualification. As such, you may be required to cash in the policy to pay for the cost of nursing home care. In that event, the policy would end, and no death benefit would be paid.

Talk To An Elder Law Attorney About Your Legal Needs For Free

With an office in Cuyahoga Falls, Legacy Law Firm, LLC, serves clients throughout the surrounding areas of Ohio. To schedule a free initial consultation with a skilled and caring attorney, you can contact us online or call 330-529-7070.