For this series of postings, we are assuming you have taken care of preparing and keeping current all of your estate planning documents like a will, trust and powers of attorney. But there are numerous other items that you should be thinking about.
If you have not already done so, you should also look into long term care planning. Planning for events that might require personal or supervisory care by others is always a wise idea. This can involve setting assets aside to cover potential expenses in this area or considering long term care insurance. The alternative, relying on government assistance through programs such as Medicaid, may require the spending down of virtually all of your assets and the minimization of income. Many people try to do this planning on their own and discover too late that what they have done has effectively disqualified them from receiving Medicaid for some period of time, while simultaneously impoverishing them. It is particularly important to plan in this area with qualified and knowledgeable experts.
You may want to meet with a licensed long term care insurance agent or broker to discuss what alternatives exist and whether they make sense for someone in your situation. If your needs are more immediate, you may need to meet with an elder law attorney. Many estate planning attorneys have some basic knowledge in this area of the law, but you should check whether your attorney has actual planning experience with Medicaid, VA medical benefits or other such programs. If they don’t, you should ask them for a referral to an elder law attorney who focuses his or her practice in those areas.