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Elder Law -- HELP!

Posted by Bridget Murray | Oct 29, 2018 | 0 Comments

How Will Aging Parent's Needs Impact Your Family?

We like to think money doesn't matter when it comes to the ones we love, but if an elderly parent should need skilled nursing care and has no resources, the family will need to know what's coming next.

At some point, families have to face the grim reality that they cannot care for a parent without help. Where that care is provided, and how skilled that care is, determines the cost. To have an aide come to the house for a day may cost about $200. A low-level of care in an assisted living facility cost averages around $5,500 to $6,000 a month. If your loved one needs skilled nursing care in a facility, expect the cost to start at around $8,500, depending on what kind of care they require.  This can be as high as $14,000 per month in some areas.

Massachusetts is one of the more expensive areas for long-term care. As a result, when looking at paying for that care and trying to protect assets, it's important to work with an attorney who specializes in elder law. That person can draft the legal documents and also handle counseling issues on housing, placement and level of care.

Many people think they'll have to spend their parents' entire savings or assets, before becoming eligible for some type of government assistance. However, there are four ways to pay for elder care: your own money, long-term care insurance, Medicaid or the VA. You should ask an experienced elder law attorney to try and protect as much of their individual assets as possible. The sooner you begin the planning process, the more options you'll have as far as the type of care and how long you're able to pay for it.  There are planning strategies you can use in Massachusetts if there is a healthy spouse who is able to stay at home, that a nursing home might not tell you about.

An elder law attorney will discuss ways to protect the assets of someone going into long-term care. Strategies usually focus on leveraging the Medicaid/MassHealth and VA regulations.

An elderly person who requires 24/7 care can exhaust all of his or her financial resources. MassHealth/Medicaid can help, but getting qualified is a time consuming and difficult process.

In some situations, an elderly parent requires a significant amount of care, and his or her assets must be used to pay for assisted living or a nursing home. That can make things tense. The children may be anticipating inheritances to help with their own retirements, and they could be resentful when that money's being spent on mom's care.

It's important for families to know that they can ask for help, when facing a crisis with an aging parent. Meet with an elder lawyer to learn about what options are available to help with the cost of care, and what resources exist in your community to help, as you and your parent adjusts to this phase of life.

CannonMurrayLaw, llc can help with advance planning for asset protection, as well as crisis planning, and assisting with the confusing process of applying for MassHealth.  Attorney Leslie Starritt is our in-house specialist and works directly with clients, nursing homes/facilities, and MassHealth personnel. 

ReferenceNew Jersey 101.5 (August 20, 2018) “Mom or Dad Goes to a Nursing Home: Will You Go Broke?”

About the Author

Bridget Murray

Attorney Murray has been practicing in the area of Estate Planning for twelve years. Prior to becoming an attorney, she wrote for The Economist in Tokyo, worked as a financial analyst for State Street Bank, and earned an MBA in International Management (Thunderbird School of International Busines...

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