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Navigating the Complexities of Estate and Health Care Needs
As many seniors in Pennsylvania grapple with chronic illnesses or disabilities, a multitude of challenges arise not only for the seniors themselves but also for their families involved in their care. Addressing legal and financial concerns becomes crucial, including decisions about living arrangements, financing long-term care, and establishing a trusted decision-maker for times when the senior can no longer advocate for themselves.
At Keystone Elder Law, P.C., our team of compassionate and dedicated Mechanicsburg life care planning attorneys is here to guide you through these complex matters. We offer a holistic approach to long-term health care and estate planning, aiming to provide peace of mind to seniors and their families. Our goal is to assist you in developing a comprehensive life care plan that protects your present and future, allowing you to leave the legacy you desire for your family.
The Objectives of Life Care Planning
Life care planning encompasses every aspect of a senior’s legal, financial, and health care needs on an ongoing basis. Some of the key objectives of life care planning include:
- Preserving a Senior’s Quality of Life: Determining the most suitable living situation for a senior to receive the necessary care and support. Should they remain in their own home or transition to a residential facility?
- Paying for Services: Addressing the financial resources required for long-term care. Do the seniors have adequate funds to cover their needs, or do they need to explore assistance from public or private sources?
- Advocating for You: Designating a trusted individual to make critical financial and health care decisions on your behalf when incapacitated. Additionally, clearly communicating your wishes to health care providers in case you are unable to speak for yourself.
- Caring for Family: If you have a spouse or dependents, ensuring plans are in place to maintain their quality of life when you are no longer able to provide care.
- Estate Planning: Strategizing the distribution of assets after your passing. Should you establish a trust? Is life insurance necessary to ensure adequate provision for your spouse and loved ones?
These are just a few examples of the issues that can be addressed within a life care plan. It’s crucial to remember that each Pennsylvania senior’s situation is unique, necessitating a personalized life plan that considers their specific needs and family dynamics. Therefore, partnering with a knowledgeable Mechanicsburg life care planning attorney is vital to benefit from their expertise in these areas.
Contact a Mechanicsburg PA Life Care Planning Attorney Today
If you have been postponing critical decisions like those discussed above, it’s time to take action. The first step is to reach out to Keystone Elder Law, P.C. to schedule a no-obligation initial consultation. Don’t delay in securing the necessary support and guidance to shape a comprehensive life care plan tailored to your specific circumstances.
Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney can be used to give another person the right to sell a car, home, or other property in the place of the maker of the Power of Attorney. A Power of Attorney might be used to allow another person to sign a contract for the maker of the Power of Attorney (the person who makes a power of attorney is called the “principal”). It can be used to give another person the authority to make health care decisions, do financial transactions, or sign legal documents that the principal cannot do for one reason or another. With few exceptions, Powers of Attorney can give others the right to do any legal acts that the makers of the Powers of Attorney could do them themselves. A General Power of Attorney gives the “power of attorney Agent” or simply “Agent” (the legal name of the person who is authorized to act for the principal) very broad powers to do almost every legal act that the principal can do. When Elder Law Attorneys draft general Powers of Attorney, they still list the types of things the Agent can do but these powers are very broad. People often do general Powers of Attorney to plan ahead for the day when they may not be able to take care of things themselves. By doing the General Power of Attorney, they designate someone who can do these things for them.
Normal Powers of Attorney terminate if and when the principal becomes incompetent. Yet many people do Powers of Attorney for the sole purpose of designating someone else to act for them if they cannot act for themselves. It is precisely when persons can no longer do for themselves that a Power of Attorney is most valuable. To remedy this inconsistency, the law created a Durable Power of Attorney that remains effective even if a person becomes incompetent. The only thing that distinguishes a Durable Power of Attorney from a regular Power of Attorney is special wording that states that the power survives the principal’s incapacity. Even a Durable Power of Attorney, however, may be terminated under certain circumstances if court proceedings are filed. Most Powers of Attorney done today are durable.
Yes. At the time the Power of Attorney is signed, the principal must be capable of understanding the document. Although a Power of Attorney is still valid if and when a person becomes incompetent, the principal must understand what he or she is signing at the moment of execution. That means a person can be suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease or be otherwise incompetent sometimes but as long as they have a lucid moment and are competent at the moment they sign the Power of Attorney, it is valid even if they do not remember signing it at a later date. At the time it is signed, the principal must know what the Power of Attorney does, whom they are giving the Power of Attorney to, and what property may be affected by the Power of Attorney.
Any competent person eighteen years of age and older can serve as an agent. Certain financial institutions can also serve. There is no course of education that agent must complete or any test that Agent must pass. Because a Power of Attorney is such a potentially powerful document, agents should be chosen for reliability and trustworthiness. In the wrong hands, a Power of Attorney can be a license to steal. It can be a big responsibility to serve as an agent.
Medicare is health insurance and covers medical services such as physician appointments, therapy, blood tests, x rays, medical procedures and hospitalization. Medicare will sometime pay for rehabilitation in a long-term care facility for a period of 20 to 100 days, but not longer. In long-term care, Medicaid covers the cost of ongoing support services for daily functioning, such as room and board in a nursing home.
Medicaid is a federal program that is overseen by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In Pennsylvania, Medicaid is called Medical Assistance and is administered by the Department of Human Services (DHS).
In Pennsylvania, Medicaid funds are not available to pay for assisted living or personal care.
For Medicaid to pay for care in a nursing home, an individual recipient must be determined to need a nursing home level of care by a physician and the local Office of Aging. An individual whose income is not greater than three times the poverty level may keep up to $8,000 of total resources, but may otherwise keep only $2,400. The cash value of life insurance counts as a resource, but one car and a residential home does not count as a resource.