Thursday, January 24, 2013

Interesting Elder Care Planning Thought

Not too long a go, I know a lady who got married in her late 60's. She never thought that her husband would come down with dementia a few years later. Of course, she was the one with the assets. Suddenly, she feared that her assets were at risk. There is a five year look back, before you can qualify for Medicaid. Further, your spouse can only keep a little over $100,000. The problem was that this lady had several hundred thousand dollars.

Of course, they had no Long Term Care Insurance, because like most people, they did not think they would need it. Long Term Care Insurance is better to have than not have. It is kind of like car insurance. You pay for it year after year in the hope that you never need it. If you have ever had an auto accident, I would suspect that you are glad you had auto insurance. The same goes for Long Term Care Insurance. You should buy it, especially if you have assets of any amount that you do not want to have spend on Long Term Care expenses.

A lot of people think they would know what to do on their own, without the help of an Elder Care Attorney. Fat chance. At first thought, a divorce was recommended by their friends. The problem with this is that it is too emotional of a decision and may be against the person's religion. Unfortunately, the lady looked to be on the hook for her husband's long term care. The government was not going to pay anything for at least five years. By then, he would probably have passed away.

They went to the Elder Care Attorney for counsel. He did his diligent research and found out something very interesting.

In this case, the best Elder Care decision was made for this couple by the minister that married them. He was a legally authorized minister and could marry people. That wasn't the issue. What he did was actually a good Elder Care Planning Strategy. Instead of filing the marriage certificate, he gave it to the couple to file. When they went to the recommended Elder Care Attorney, he discovered that they were not legally married. This allowed the lady to keep her assets and take care of her ailing husband, without having to divorce him. She was able to take care of him at home until the last few weeks of his life, when he went to Hospice care. He never had to qualify for Medicaid. She was able to be her own Florence Nightingale.

The moral of the story, for those contemplating marriage later in life, may be to tell the person marrying you to let you file the marriage certificate. It could come in handy.