Financial Planning Month: Questions to Ask an Elder Law Expert

Elder Law Birmingham, Al: American Heart Month

National Financial Planning Month advocates for the importance of financial health. Just over 10% of those 65 or older in the U.S. were living in poverty. That’s one of the reasons that older adults don’t have a will. The AARP reports that 19% of adults 72 or older do not have a living trust or will, while 42% of adults 53 to 71 have one.

Where does your dad fit in this picture? Has he taken any steps to protect his financial health? It’s important that he does that ASAP. If he waits too long, he could be at the mercy of the courts to decide what happens to his assets. He needs to talk to an elder law attorney about these topics.

Should My Dad Have a Will?

You and your dad may feel that he doesn’t need a will due to his lack of assets. That’s wrong. If he has a home, antiques, stocks, etc., he needs to talk to a lawyer about a will. Even a basic will is worth his time as it protects his family and belongings from probate and disputes.

What is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney is one of the more important legal forms for your dad to possess. There are two types: financial and medical. A financial power of attorney allows your dad to designate the person of his choosing to make financial decisions for him if he’s mentally or physically unable.

The other type, a medical power of attorney, allows your dad to choose a person to make medical decisions on his behalf. If something happens to him, such as he has a stroke and is unable to speak, his agent would make medical decisions following his wishes. To ensure his wishes are followed, he should ask about a living will or advance directive.

Can VA Benefits Help With Long-Term Care Costs?

Is your dad a military veteran? If so, he may qualify for VA benefits. Some of them help cover a portion of his long-term care costs. Whether he qualifies or not depends on a number of criteria, including if he was on active duty during a qualifying war. An elder law expert can help him determine if he meets those criteria and assists him with the application.

What Are the Benefits of Medicaid Planning?

Once your dad turns 65, he qualifies for Medicare. If his income meets the qualifications or his need for long-term care drains his assets, he might qualify for Medicaid. The application process can be complex and has a number of rules. Medicaid planning services are helpful if he reaches a point where Medicaid is required.

Talk to an elder law attorney about your dad’s financial health. Whether he needs to get a power of attorney drafted or believes he qualifies for VA benefits, an attorney can answer his questions and help him navigate the next steps.

If you or a loved one need assistance with Elder Law in Homewood, AL contact The Alabama Elder Care Law Firm, LLC today. (205) 390-0101