March is Asset Management Awareness Month, founded by the National Property Management Association. While the organization is focused on property management, asset management is important whether you have investment properties or not. Elder law can help.
Your dad still lives in the family home. He might have a summer home near a lake or a cabin in the mountains. Has he considered how he’ll protect those homes if something happens to him? Your dad is getting older. If he hasn’t talked to an elder law specialist about asset protection, it’s time.
Draw Up a Will
Who does your dad want to get different assets after he passes away? Suppose he’s had a lot of help over the years from his neighbor, and he wants to make sure that neighbor gets his car. If he doesn’t have a will that is legally drafted and makes his wishes clear, your dad’s son could claim the car and cut out the neighbor.
A will is important for ensuring assets are given to the specific person of your dad’s choosing. An elder law professional can assist him with this. He shouldn’t leave it to his kids to decide. It’s impossible to know if people will be fair or not after his death.
Revocable vs Irrevocable Trusts
As Alzheimer’s cases continue to increase, one area of concern is the need for care as the disease progresses. If your dad needs nursing home care in the last stages of this disease, he may quickly run out of money. Alzheimer’s care is costly if he needs nursing home care.
Many people find themselves facing bankruptcy. Before any of this happens, he needs to talk to an attorney about protecting his assets. There are a few things his elder law professional may recommend.
An irrevocable trust is set in stone while a revocable one can be changed or revoked. If your dad will need Medicaid benefits at any point in his life, he needs to be careful as the asset limit Medicaid sets considers the assets in a revocable trust to still be in his possession, so it’s not enough.
If he’s looking to protect assets from ever being claimed by Medicaid, he needs to talk to his attorney about things like irrevocable trusts and Lady Bird deeds. They’ll protect his home and some assets from being taken by Medicaid or other agencies to pay off medical debt, nursing home care, etc. after his death.
Talk to an Attorney About Estate Planning
Protecting his assets starts with a comprehensive estate plan that cannot be contested. If your dad hasn’t had an elder law attorney create his will, it’s time. Schedule a consultation with an elder law office as soon as you’ve written out a list of all of your dad’s assets.