As featured on http://healthycellsmagazine.com/
Greater St. Louis Area
Getting Your Ducks in a Row!
By Dana Vouga, Paralegal/VA and Medicaid Specialist
When most people think about the words “good health” they may have thoughts like “I’m perfectly healthy” to “I have a cold, but otherwise healthy” or maybe “I’m not as healthy as I used to be.”
Another way of thinking of “good health” is whether or not you have your “ducks in a row” in case you find yourself “not in good health.” If you don’t have a Life Care Plan in place, you could be missing out on opportunities to “age in place” when you or your loved one’s health eventually declines.
The most important thing you can do for you and your family is to have properly drawn legal documents in place that not only address your wishes about where your assets go after you die, but more importantly, what happens if you don’t die, but become ill, and need long term care.
The cost of long term care is the number one cause of financial disaster for seniors. Many people believe that Medicare will pay for their long term care. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Medicare will pay for an illness or rehabilitation for up to 100 days. However, as soon as the patient “plateaus”, Medicare no longer pays for the care. On average, Medicare only pays for 26 days of patient care.
Planning ahead gives you many more options and gives you the ability to receive care in your home, or a setting of your choice, rather than receive care in a nursing home. Wouldn’t you rather live and receive care at home rather than a nursing home? However, if you or your loved one do not have proper legal documents in place and you lose mental capacity, either through a stroke, dementia, Parkinson’s, or Alzheimer’s, your family will have few options on how to care for you, and even fewer options as to how to pay for the cost of care.
In some cases, especially in an emergency setting, like a trip to an emergency room, spouses and family members can even be denied being told of a loved one’s health condition because they didn’t have proper legal documents! There is also a little known Veterans Benefit that can help a Veteran or their surviving spouse receive tax-free benefits (up to $1,949/ month! in 2011) to help pay for the cost of in-home care, independent living, assisted living, or nursing home care.
Estate Planning attorneys make sure your assets as distributed after you pass. An Elder Care Attorney also accomplishes this, but they will be your trusted guide through the elder care journey, and help you protect and preserve your assets so that you can age in place and determine for yourself who cares for you.
All of these topics and more are part of the Life Care Planning services offered by Vouga Elder Law, LLC. To set up a FREE, 1-hour no obligation initial consultation, please call us at 636-394-0009. More information can be found at our website: www.vougaelderlaw.com. Vouga Elder Law, LLC. has been helping families with their estate and long-term care planning needs for over 30 years. Our office is located at 2997 Clarkson Road, Suite 240, Chesterfield, MO 63017.
July 2011 – Greater St. Louis Area – Healthy Cells Magazine – Page 15