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Atlanta Georgia Elder Care And Special Needs Planning Blog

Special needs trusts: Help your child keep their benefits

As you get older, you may start to realize that you're going to have to find a caregiver for your adult child with special needs. While they can take care of themselves most of the time, the truth is that they may still need support and someone to watch over them.

Along with this, you want to make sure that they and their caregiver have the financial support that is needed. That's why you may have been looking into using a special needs trust.

Assisting elders with finances, Medicaid, increases independence

Most people understand and accept that as they age, they may not be able to care for themselves as easily as they did when they were younger. However, they likely hope that they'll be able to sustain as independent a life as possible. Adult children of older people here in Georgia often worry about their parents' finances, thinking that their parents may not have the same cognitive abilities to make sound financial choices. Though Medicaid helps cover health-related expenses, older people are often subject to financial abuse from many potential sources. Experts have advice for those who want to protect their elderly loved ones.

First, experts say that planning and communication are essential to protecting an older person's assets. Listing out the person's assets and income is a great starting point. From there, adult children can work with their parents' financial advisor to determine what is best. However, children should also ensure that those with access to their parents finances have the necessary qualifications. Some people decide to create a joint account with themselves and their parents so that bills are paid properly. 

Special needs planning is only one aspect of special needs care

Parents who have a child with developmental, physical or other challenges are often some of the most caring parents in Georgia or anywhere else in the country for that matter. It takes a great deal of patience and planning to provide the best life possible for a special needs child. Special needs planning is an integral part of that endeavor, but it represents only one aspect of providing adequate care for him or her.

One federally funded program that could help, especially in light of current events, is Georgia's Parent Training Information Center. One of the primary functions of a PTI is to advise parents with special needs children up to age 26 regarding their rights, protections and responsibilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. This often empowers parents to take on a larger role in their children's education when it comes to making decisions and planning.

A Medicaid waiver could mean avoiding a nursing home longer

Growing older comes with a lot of pros like wisdom and experience, but it also comes with some significant cons, such as failing health, declining physical and mental acuity, and more. Georgia residents experiencing the effects of aging may begin to need additional help with daily tasks, but are not yet ready to go into a nursing home. It is possible that a Medicaid waiver could help make it possible to receive benefits and remain at home as well.

A disability or other medical condition does not mean that a Georgia resident should not enjoy as much independence as possible up until it is no longer a viable option. When an aging person needs help bathing, shopping, dressing and doing other similar daily tasks, it does not mean he or she does not still retain the mental acuity or health to remain at home. Under these circumstances, having someone come in to help could prove invaluable, but paying for it could be an issue.

Medicaid planning and the family home

Parents want to take care of their children. This is generally true regardless of how old their children are. Even when the Georgia parent is past retirement age and beginning to become worried about Medicaid planning and the possibility of nursing home care being required, the parent will often attempt to find a way to both take care of his/her Medicaid concerns and also make sure that the children receive their anticipated inheritance.

One way that older parents may attempt to protect their children's inheritance is by going ahead and giving the family home to the children. This is often done by using a quit claim deed granting ownership to the children. Unfortunately, there can be several problems with this. In addition to the home now being vulnerable to the children's creditors and the possibility of increased taxes in the long run, this action may prohibit the individual from receiving Medicaid benefits when they are needed most.

Guardianship is often part of special needs planning

Like parents everywhere, most Georgia parents will do whatever they have to in order to make sure their children grow up safe, happy and loved. They want their children to have all the opportunities available to them as they grow. For parents of children with special needs, this usually takes on a new meaning. Providing the best life possible usually requires some special needs planning, which may involve a guardianship.

Children with special needs usually require assistance well into adulthood. However, the law considers them adults when they reach the age of majority, which means that parents lose some legal rights to help their children. To rectify this problem, Georgia parents can pursue a guardianship. This allows them to provide much needed assistance to their children and make decisions for them their children would not otherwise be able to make on their own.

Focus on a good estate plan to help your caregiver

As someone who may need a caregiver, you want to make sure that you are provided for while not placing too much of a burden on your loved ones. You want to stay in your home in old age, but you also realize how restrictive that can be for caregivers you're related to.

To ask someone in your life to be a caregiver is significant. You're essentially asking for someone to care for you like they might care for a child. They will need a break.

Visitation halted in many Atlanta nursing homes

The country is in the middle of a national health crisis, and the nation's elderly are part of the most vulnerable population. Atlanta nursing homes are taking drastic measures to try to protect their residents, but that means that family members are not able to visit and check in on their loved ones right now. Many people are worried that their loved ones will not receive the care they planned for over the years.

Nursing home neglect and abuse are a problem throughout the country. It is just one reason why people take the time to plan in order to afford facilities they believe will provide the appropriate level of care and keep their loved ones safe. Unfortunately, right now, families cannot know form themselves their elderly family members are receiving the care they deserve.

Things to consider when looking for nursing home care

As the population ages, more people will begin looking for a place to receive help with daily activities and medical needs. With different levels of nursing home care available, it could take some time to choose the right place. Atlanta has a variety of places for every income and need level, and choosing the right home requires careful consideration.

One of the first considerations is the staff. With far too many news stories about abuse and neglect, asking a plethora of questions about their training, experience and education just makes sense. What is the staff to patient ratio? An understaffed nursing home often leads to neglect, if not abuse.

Will a portion of your assets go to Medicaid estate recovery?

Like other Atlanta residents, you may not have known that your estate may be responsible for paying back certain federal benefits you receive at the end of your life. For example, if your estate is valued at more than $25,000, you owned a home at the time of your death and you received Medicaid benefits, the state of Georgia may be required to put a lien on your home in order to recover the monetary value of those benefits. With the right planning, it may be possible to avoid this eventuality.

You more than likely want to make sure that your loved ones receive as much of your estate as possible, so you will need to take steps to help ensure that happens. Nursing homes are expensive, and many people rely on Medicaid to afford them. When you move out of your family home and into a home using these benefits, the fate of your home, and those family members still living there, may be jeopardized if your name is still on the deed.

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