Is Your Estate Plan a Life Plan or a Death Plan?
By Rick L. Law of the Estate Planning Center at Law Elder Law in suburban Aurora, IL Over the years, I have learned to distinguish between traditional estate planning (a Death Plan) versus longevity planning (a Life Plan). The traditional estate plan is triggered into action by someone’s death. An eldercare estate plan, while being fashioned in accordance with traditional estate plan concepts, is initially triggered into implementation by a long-term illness diagnosis. Obviously, anyone can die a sudden death anywhere along life’s trajectory, but if the person remains alive and well during the healthy vigorous senior stage, they may eventually become a declining senior with memory or mobility issues, which means they will have different health-care needs. They now have a long-term health-care condition, which causes them to start paying out-of-pocket for numerous health-care expenses. Almost all health-care insurance policies and Medicare are designed to pay for acute-care illness and injury (which means that you will get better and return home). These health-care policies and Medicare do not pay for long-term care expenses. In addition to longevity estate planning, Law Elderlaw serves people who need crisis planning, such as those who:
- have been residing in a long-term-care facility, such as a nursing home or assisted/supported living facility;
- have an immediate need to go to a long-term care facility or assisted/supported living facility;
- have been living at home alone or with relatives and are paying for full-time care;
- have been living at home or with a child and the child has been providing a majority of the care; or
- wish to continue to live at home and need to access governmental benefits to pay for care.