Medicaid is a vital safety net in the United States. Approximately 74 million Americans receive health benefits through the program. This includes people with disabilities, senior citizens and children.
It is sad to think that some of our most vulnerable members of society fall prey to those hoping to exploit them financially. Unfortunately for many senior citizens in New York and elsewhere, this can easily be the case. As your parents age, they may become unwitting victims of financial predators.
If you have an elderly, incapacitated parent who is unable to make independent decisions, or you have a parent who is at a high risk of becoming incapacitated, you are likely under a great deal of stress. There are many decisions that must take place as you face the inevitable end of your parent's life.
A lot of issues can come up as adult children watch their parents get older. For example, you may notice that your parents are no longer able to drive safely or that they need assistance in daily living activities. It can be a struggle to get parents to understand or accept what is going on, and some never do.
There is a lot you and other New York residents need to think about when doing your estate planning. Which relatives do you want to leave your favorite heirlooms to? How should you divide your home and vehicles amongst your loved ones? Can you specify how you want your grandchildren to spend their inheritance? What if you become incapacitated before you die?
There is no doubt that long-term medical care has become expensive. Even well-off people are not always able to pay for, say, 15 years' worth of nursing homes or in-home caregivers. Of course, government programs such as Medicaid can step in to help pay for most, if not all, expenses. However, those who apply for Medicaid must meet certain eligibility requirements, some of which are financial. One common concern is whether you will have to give up your home in order to qualify.
Older adults in New York may be concerned about paying for rising medical costs. As people age, they naturally require more medical care and treatments. They may be on daily medications necessary to maintain their health. All of this can get quite costly. Luckily, through the federal and state governments, adults over the age of 65 can qualify for help. The two main options for healthcare coverage are Medicare and Medicaid.
In many families with an adult child with a disability requiring daily care, there is an understanding, either implicit or explicit, between the parents and other adult children that at least one of the other adult children will care for their sibling after the parents die.
Conservatorship occurs when an adult is no longer capable of taking care of himself or herself. By New York law, one person is in charge of the overall well-being of this adult and makes all relevant decisions regarding health care and paying bills.
As we age, preserving the future of our assets becomes more of an immediate need. It can be difficult to establish an estate plan that will protect your home and other property while still allowing you to plan for your future and maintain some level of financial independence. In many cases, it becomes a decision between two documents: life estates vs. irrevocable trusts.