Tips for adult children in funding elderly parent's long term care, P.1

Medicaid planning and long-term care planning is certainly an important aspect of estate planning, and various strategies can be employed to ensure that one is able to take full advantage of the program. But even when an elderly parent is able to obtain Medicaid, costs for long term care are not completely taken care of, and family can end up being responsible for paying those costs.

A recent case in Pennsylvania demonstrates this point rather well. In that case, the adult son of an elderly woman ended up being responsible for $93,000 worth of care after his mother applied for Medicaid. She apparently left the country before being approved, and the nursing home sued her son and won.

Some family members intentionally fail to pay nursing home facilities for their share of the costs of care. But there is a better approach to handling the costs of long-term care.

One important thing for the children of elderly parents to do is to ensure that their parent signs up for Medicare. While this may be obvious, not everybody is in the same spot financially. Some may initially neglect signing up for Medicare because their company provided retiree medical insurance. Others may just misunderstand the system.

The same goes for Medicaid. Sign your elderly parent up instead of letting it be their responsibility or that of the nursing home facility.

Another good idea is to obtain power of attorney for your parents. A durable power of attorney allows one to access parents' funds to pay for their medical care. Also a smart idea is to execute a medical power of attorney as part of an advance health care directive. This allows one to make medical decisions for them, according to their wishes, in the event they are unable to do so.

In our next post, we'll continue with this topic.

Source: Forbes, "Avoid a $93,000 Bill For Your Dad's Long-Term Care," Nancy Anderson, July 26, 2012

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