Nowadays, people are living longer, which gives many Texans more time to enjoy their retirement years. However, aging also brings difficult challenges, such as declining health and the necessity of planning for long-term care. Because the costs of elder care can be exorbitant, particularly at a skilled nursing facility, it is critically important to plan for your care in a way that will preserve your legacy. Ultimately, it takes a compassionate long-term care planning attorney to protect your well-being, your assets, and your loved ones.
With offices in the Greater Houston area, Hegwood Law Group develops innovative long-term care solutions with an emphasis on quality of life. Our attorneys understand the concerns that you and many others have: ‘Will I be able to stay in my home? How will I pay for care at a skilled nursing facility? Does Medicare cover long-term care services?’ We can help address those concerns by offering trusted advice and guidance. When you consult our attorneys, you will have peace of mind knowing that your future financial and medical needs will be met.
Common Long-term Care Issues
Our comprehensive estate planning services encompass a wide range of long-term care issues, such as:
- Planning for incapacity (advance medical directives, living wills)
- Selecting the right nursing home or assisted living facility
- Arranging for home care
- Qualifying for public benefits (e.g. Medicaid)
- Asset protection
By failing to plan for long-term care, not only will your independence be jeopardized, your life’s savings could easily be depleted. Our team is committed to protecting your legal rights so that you can maintain and enjoy a high quality of life.
Is Medicare a Viable Option for Long-term Care?
Many people mistakenly assume that Medicare will cover the costs of skilled care at a nursing home or assisted living facility. However, Medicare only pays for limited services on a short-term basis, such as nursing home care or rehabilitation services, for a set number of days. Moreover, many elders require non-skilled care to assist with daily tasks of living — dressing, feeding, light housekeeping — not covered by Medicare. This makes long-term care planning critically important.
Should I Consider Long-term Care Insurance?
This type of insurance is designed to cover the cost of personal and custodial care at home, an assisted living facility or nursing home. You may also be covered for a certain amount of assistance with daily activities such as bathing, dressing or eating. Qualifying for such coverage can be complicated because pre-existing conditions may render you ineligible. Moreover, premiums are costly and based on factors such as your age, the maximum amount per day the policy will pay, and the maximum number of days or years covered. Our attorneys can help determine if long-term care insurance is the best option for you and consider alternatives if the premiums are not affordable or you do not qualify.
Medicaid Planning and Long-term Care
While Medicaid is the largest payer of nursing home care in the country, the program is needs-based and many elders have financial resources that exceed the eligibility threshold. Our legal team can help you qualify for Medicaid and protect your assets through a variety of strategies such as spousal income and asset transfers, annuities, and qualified income trusts. We are knowledgeable in Texas-specific Medicaid programs including, but not limited to, the Star Plus Waiver Program, Texas Medicaid for the elderly and disabled, CHIP, SNAP Food benefits, QMB, SLMB, the Community First Choice Program, the Day Activity and Health Services Program, and the Primary Home Care Program.
Long-term Care Options for Veterans
Our attorneys routinely advise veterans and their spouses about benefits available through the Veterans Administration, such as Aid and Attendance. This is a pension program that assists individuals who need assistance with performing daily tasks or require long-term care in a skilled nursing or assisted living facility. Aid and Attendance is only provided to qualified war veterans — those who served at least one day of active duty during a designated period of war. Veterans may also be eligible for disability compensation, free or low-cost medical care through VA hospitals and medical facilities, and education programs.
Planning for Incapacity and Long-term Care
Although thinking about the possibility of becoming incapacitated is unpleasant, it is crucial to plan your finances and healthcare when you are unable to speak for yourself. Our estate planning attorneys can draw up a statutory durable power of attorney that authorizes a trusted person to manage your personal and financial affairs — paying monthly bills, managing real estate, bank accounts, and investments — when you are unable to do so.
We also recommend having an advance medical directive which appoints someone to act as your agent in coordinating your preferred medical care when you cannot make such decisions independently. Finally, a living will declares the type of end-of-life care you wish to receive or have withheld (e.g. a ventilator or feeding tube) when you are unconscious or terminally ill.
Contact a Houston Long-term Care Planning Attorney Today
Hegwood Law Group is here to help you make the best decisions about your long-term care needs. We will work closely with you to explore all the options for maintaining your independence and protecting your assets. Knowing that dealing with the issues of aging can be overwhelming, we will offer you knowledge, compassion and the personal attention you deserve. Please call our offices to learn more about your long-term care options.