Medicaid Planning And Health Care Decision-Making

Most people know that it is important to have an estate plan in place to specify where their assets will go after they pass away. But estate planning is only one part of elder law, and it often overshadows an equally important aspect: late-life care and contingency planning.

The reality is that most of us are at risk for becoming incapacitated or unable to live independently in our later years. Therefore, it is critical to plan for these scenarios while we still have the resources and mental capacity to do so.

At Weber Elder Law Offices, attorney Karen H. Weber has been helping clients with these difficult but important issues for over 20 years. She can help you, too.

What You Need To Know About Health Care Decision-Making

Planning for your own medical care and end-of-life care is important in case you become mentally or physically incapacitated, and therefore unable to make or communicate your own decisions about care. There are essentially two important decisions you will need to make: What you want your health care to be and whom you want to make decisions for you if you become unable to do so.

In both Kansas and Missouri, these issues are addressed in two documents:

The Health care proxy: This document expresses your wishes for what kind of care you want to receive under a variety of incapacity circumstances. It also allows you to appoint an agent or health care power of attorney. This is an individual you trust to communicate your wishes as stated in the document and to make any health care decisions not otherwise expressed in the document.

Living will: This document gives instructions regarding treatment in the event you become terminally ill or are in a persistent vegetative state and are unable to communicate your own wishes. The living will states under what conditions life-sustaining treatment should be terminated. Like a health care proxy, a living will takes effect only upon incapacity. Also, a living will can always be changed at a later date if you wish to do so. A living will simply dictates the withdrawal of life support in instances of terminal illness, coma or a vegetative state.

Preserving Your Assets And Planning For Medicaid Coverage

In later years, many Americans need to move into nursing homes or other assisted living facilities. That, coupled with higher health care costs generally, can become prohibitively expensive. Medicaid is the safety net that will allow many seniors to afford these critical services.

Weber Elder Law Offices can help you with Medicaid planning in two ways. First, we can help you prepare and submit your application for Medicaid to the relevant agencies, and we can advocate for you in a system that can be highly bureaucratic.

Second, we may be able to help you qualify for Medicaid without completely depleting all of your hard-earned assets. Because Medicaid is need-based, many seniors are forced to spend down nearly all of their assets to qualify for it. By the time you do qualify, there may be nothing left to pay for your other expenses or to pass on to your loved ones.

Through asset preservation trusts and other legal instruments, we may be able to help you qualify for Medicaid while still holding on to some of your most important assets.

Contact Us To Learn More

Based in Overland Park, Weber Elder Law Offices serves the Kansas City metro in both Kansas and Missouri. To discuss your elder law options with an experienced lawyer, call us at 913-624-9366, or send us an email.