National Care Planning Council
National Care Planning Council

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Books for Care Planning

    Long Term Care BooksFind books provided by the National Care Planning Council written to help the public plan for Long Term Care. Learn More...

Eldercare Articles

    Eldercare ArticlesThe NCPC publishes periodic articles under the title "Planning for Eldercare". Each article is written to help families recognize the need for long term care planning and to help implement that planning. All elderly people, regardless of current health, should have a long term care plan. Learn More...

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Guide to LTC Planning

    Guide to Long Term Care PlanningFrom its inception, the goal of the National Care Planning Council has been to educate the public on the importance of planning for long term care. With that goal in mind, we have created the largest and most comprehensive source of long term care planning material available anywhere. This material -- "Guide to Long Term Care Planning" -- is free to the public for downloading and printing on all of our web sites. Learn More...

Elder Law and Estate Planning

Elder Law and Estate Planning

Many elderly people rely entirely on family or other trusted individuals to help them. Whether it is physiological or psychological, as people grow older, they tend to grow more childlike. The dependence upon caregivers or family members makes an older person more vulnerable for abuse and financial exploitation. Legal arrangements and protective actions by family may be necessary to shield loved ones from abuse.

Making legal decisions about property, finances, power of attorney, and last rights are important tasks to complete in planning for long term care. Having legal documentation for your will, assets, and whom you designate to be responsible for your welfare can avoid family disputes, abuse of your needs and finances, and conserve your assets for your care.

Elder Law Attorney

Elder law attorneys specialize in legal issues affecting the elderly. They are expert in Medicare and Medicaid programs and working with the elderly in assisting them and their families with all aspects of planning and implementing necessary legal documents.

Qualified legal help is available from most elder law attorneys to help individuals in applying for and accelerating payments for Medicaid. An elder law attorney can also help with disputes with Medicaid. Likewise, attorneys who specialize in Medicare can help with disability claims. Sometimes this help is the only way claims are ever granted. Below is a partial list of what an elder law attorney might do:

  • Preservation or transfer of assets seeking to avoid spousal impoverishment when a spouse enters a nursing home
  • Medicaid qualification and application and Medicaid planning strategies
  • Medicare claims and appeals
  • Social security and disability claims and appeals
  • Disability planning, including use of durable powers of attorney, living trusts and living wills
  • Help with financial management and health care decisions; and other means of delegating management and decision-making to another in case of incompetence or incapacity
  • Probate
  • Administration and management of trusts and estates
  • Long term care placements in nursing homes and assisted living
  • Nursing home issues with patients' rights and nursing home quality
  • Elder abuse and fraud recovery cases

Estate Planning Attorney

The estate planning attorney provides information and legal advice for preparing your properties and finances so they transfer in the most efficient manner to your heirs. This also includes tax planning to avoid such things as estate taxes, state inheritance taxes and capital gains taxes on properties or investments.

Most attorneys who specialize in elder law, also provide estate planning advice. An estate planning attorney will help you with the following:

  • Give tax advice pertaining to estate issues
  • Perform probate services
  • Draw up wills and trusts
  • Design powers of attorney and other consent documents
  • Design special trusts or partnership programs to save estate or gift taxes
  • Design charitable gifting programs
  • Design strategies to transfer business ownership with death or disability
  • Design programs to pay for estate taxes

Durable Power of Attorney Documents

Many people do not know the difference between a general and a durable power of attorney. A general power of attorney is a document by which you appoint a person to act as your agent. Agents are authorized to make decisions for you, sign legal documents, etc. Many people are unaware that a General Power of Attorney is revoked when the person granting that power becomes incompetent or incapacitated. It is the "Durable" Power of Attorney that allows for an agent to continue making decisions on your behalf no matter what happens to you.

A responsible adult child of an aging parent would be given a "durable power of attorney" to act on behalf of the parent. This provides broader authority than just adding the child's name to bank accounts and documents. Another form of durable power of attorney called a "springing power of attorney" allows for a more restrictive use of the power to act on your behalf.

Living Will and Advance Directives

A living will is your declaration made as to what actions you want taken in keeping you alive when you are in a vegetative state or there is no hope for recovery. You may want little or no medical intervention or life prolonging action. You set the limits in your will. You should entrust your living will to a person who knows your wishes and will ensure that they are observed.