One of the biggest challenges a person can face is preparing for the day when one may no longer be independent and self-sufficient. Due to a decline in physical or mental health, or both, the day may come when a person has to rely on others to make decisions about his or her long-term care. Lest one views the subject as too gloomy to worry about, it should be remembered that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that 70 percent of those 65 and older, including residents of Texas, will need some form of long-term care.
When a loved one is struck with the unthinkable, such as a diagnosis of impending Alzheimer's disease or another type of dementia, planning should start immediately if it's not already in place. Unfortunately, both in Texas and throughout the country, the stress and shock of coping with such an overpowering disease is combined with extraordinary medical expenses that few can afford. Therefore, long-term care planning for dementia can bring about substantial benefits, both economically and emotionally.
When planning to help out one’s family members, a person may be so generous as to ignore some basic needs of his or her own. However, one should not be so generous in gifting to one’s children and grandchildren that it depletes what the person needs to survive in the future. Thus, the estate planning process in Texas or elsewhere should not ignore the elder law planning needs that must be incorporated into any strong and effective plan.
As baby boomers reach an age at which they might need care in a nursing home or an assisted living facility, it is important, in terms of estate planning, to know which government programs might be available to help with the financial cost. Incorporating these concerns into a comprehensive estate plan may involve options such as Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, veterans' benefits or the creation of a special needs trust.