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East Hanover New Jersey Elder Law Blog

Are women prepared for the costs of long-term care?

Most people in New Jersey expect to live long lives. However, many are not prepared legally and financially for their old age. According to one study, this may be especially true for women.

An AARP study of 500 women between 45-years-old to 64-years-old reveals that the majority of respondents do not know what they will need in terms of long-term care, the price of such care and how they will be able to afford it. This is significant, as wives generally live five years longer than their husbands, at which point their assets may already have been depleted. The study concludes that there is a significant need to educate women on how they can execute a long-term care plan.

Asset protection may be possible for New Jersey residents

Those in New Jersey who have an aging loved one who is in need of around-the-clock care may find the costs associated with such care can be distressing. As of now, 24/7 in-home care can set a person back $7,000 monthly. If you'd like your loved one to live in an assisted living community, this could cost as much as $8,000 monthly. And, should your loved one need nursing home care, the price tag could be a staggering $12,000 monthly. These costs could easily wipe out a person's finances all too quickly.

For this reason, some people in New Jersey may be relying on Medicaid to help offset these costs. However, does this mean they have to impoverish themselves in the process? After all, the general rule is that a person can have no more than $2,000 in resources in order to qualify for Medicaid.

Medicaid planning: Protecting the house and Medicaid eligibility

When it comes to end-of-life planning, one of the most valuable resources many seniors in New Jersey can rely on is Medicaid planning. Whether you plan to retire in a few years or are in the process of updating your estate plans, one item you should dedicate a little more time on is your home. 

By anticipating your need for specific resources to ensure your standard of care, you can minimize the financial issues you and your loved ones may encounter otherwise. With proper planning, you do not have to choose between keeping your home in the family and losing your Medicaid eligibility. Here is some information to keep in mind about Medicaid planning and real estate

A personal care agreement can benefit New Jersey families

When a person's parents reach an age where they need help with their daily care activities, oftentimes their children step up and serve as caregivers. They do this out of love for their parents and, in general, do not expect to be paid.

However, this situation can become more difficult if an adult child must care for their aging parent for many years or if their parent's needs require professional support. Medicaid is often seen as an option for paying for long-term care. However, the care recipient cannot have more than $2,000 in assets if they are unmarried in order to qualify for Medicaid.

Exploring the different types of special needs trusts

When a person in New Jersey has a loved one with special needs, they will want to make sure their loved one is provided for financially. One way to do this is for the special-needs individual to obtain government benefits. However, usually a person must have limited resources in order to qualify for government benefits. This can become problematic when the person with special needs has other financial resources, but still needs government benefits to meet all of their living expenses and medical expenses.

A special needs trust can be one way that an individual with special needs can receive financial resources without being disqualified from receiving government benefits, such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income. In general, special needs trusts are "third-party" trusts that are established by a party other than the individual with special needs, for example, established by a parent or guardian, and are funded using the third-party's assets. However, sometimes a person with special needs will set up a "first-party" special needs trust.

What should be included in a New Jersey nursing home contract?

People in New Jersey who are looking for a nursing home for an aging loved one often do all they can to inspect the home, its policies and its practices, to ensure it is a good fit for their loved one. Once a nursing home is chosen, a nursing home contract will need to be executed. Before signing on the dotted line, it is important to carefully review the nursing home contract, to ensure it is fair and appropriate.

First, the contract should explicitly state what services the home will provide and what the basic daily rate for care will be. If there are items that are not a part of the basic daily rate, these items and how much they cost should be listed in the contract.

Elder law planning is important when it comes to end-of-life care

Our nation's population is aging. According to the Social Security Administration, men in the United States may live to age 84 on average and women may live to age 86 on average. However, while people in New Jersey may have a will or trust in place, many have not addressed end-of-life care, even though according to one source 70 percent of private bank clients who live past age 65 will eventually need long-term care. However, just because people haven't executed a long-term care plan doesn't mean they do not have opinions about their end-of-life care. It can help to have an understanding of long-term care planning so that a person can execute the proper legal documents that establish their preferences with regards to end-of-life care.

For example, a person should execute a financial and health care power of attorney. These elder law documents can dictate who will take care of your financial and health care decisions should you become incapacitated. Also, by executing a living will, you can dictate what types of medical interventions you want or don't want if you are unable to express your preferences.

3 myths about Social Security

The Baby Boomer population is either already in retirement or will get there in a few years. A majority of Boomers expect Social Security benefits to be a major source of income, and knowing how to navigate this field is crucial to ensure an aging population can live comfortably for years to come. 

Planning for retirement can be stressful. However, it becomes even more difficult with there being so many persistent myths related to Social Security. It is critical to dispel all myths as you start looking at your finances after retirement, so you can make the right decisions for you and your needs. 

How do ABLE accounts differ from special needs trusts?

Special needs trusts are one way to provide a disabled person with the income they need to survive, while still retaining their government benefits. However, not everyone in New Jersey has enough money to open a special needs trust. An option that may be available to these people, however, is an ABLE account.

An ABLE account can provide for individuals who are significantly disabled and will need financial support for the rest of their lives. An ABLE account can provide the beneficiary to the account with as much as $100,000 in assets while still allowing that beneficiary to retain or obtain Supplemental Security Income benefits. The funds in an ABLE account can be used for many purposes one may encounter in their day-to-day life, such as school expenses, transportation expenses, attorney fees and other expenses that will enhance the beneficiary's quality of life.

Planning for New Jersey Long Term Services and Supports

As people in New Jersey age, they may find their ability to care for themselves has declined. Whether it is due to an illness, an injury or simply old age, a person might decide that they have long-term care needs. Such care comes at a cost, however. Some people may be relying on Medicaid to pay for these services.

Long Term Services and Supports, for the purposes of Medicaid in New Jersey, are services and support for those who need to be placed in a nursing home, an assisted living community or need in-home care. This might include self-care, home-delivered meals and care management. There are clinical and financial requirements a person must meet to be eligible for LTSS.

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