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Atlanta Georgia Elder Care And Special Needs Planning Blog

The importance of planning for later in life

Planning for what happens later in life is important and there are many ways to do that and many considerations to take into account when doing so. Making sure that planning is conducted for later in life is essential and can provide important peace of mind for estate planners and their family members as they head into their later years.

Planning for long-term care often involves understanding how Medicaid eligibility works and how to plan for nursing home care that does not become a financial burden or strain for loved ones. Sorting this out ahead of time can be valuable for families as their loved ones age. Medicaid planning and nursing home planning to not have to be intimidating and are things that every family should prepare themselves and their loved ones for.

Government review of special needs trusts in Georgia

Special needs trusts have become a valuable and much-used estate planning tool for Georgia families with special needs children. Many families who want to establish a special needs trust for one or more of their children usually assume that retaining a knowledgeable attorney is the necessary and often the last step in the process. While this assumption may be correct in most situations, many persons who are considering establishing a special needs trust are unaware of the services provided by the state of Georgia to ensure both the legal efficacy of the trust and the effectiveness as an estate planning tool.

Special needs trusts are intended to provide future financial care and stability for persons whose physical or mental disabilities prevent them from tending to their own finances. The unit of government that provides this service is the Trust Unit of the Georgia Department of Community Health.

Long-term care insurance and paying for a nursing home

When it comes to long-term care planning, there is no shortage of paths you can follow to ensure that you have enough money to deal with any expenses that come your way in the future.

For example, a long-term care insurance policy is exactly what it sounds like. It is designed to kick in should you require long-term care, such as at-home care or in a nursing home.

Using a Certified Medicaid Planner

Many readers of this blog have hopefully used the services of an attorney who is experienced in elder care and Medicaid law. Now, a new category of Medicaid planning assistance is available from a category of professional planners known as Certified Medicaid Planners.

Many people are able to build their own understanding of the basics of Medicaid eligibility and benefits, but keeping track of the many changes in the law and regulations that govern Medicare can be out of reach for most lay people. CMPs can be found in a number of professions, such as attorneys, certified public accountants, financial advisers, nursing home staff, social workers, geriatric care workers and funeral home directors. Their common goal is to provide the most cost-effective Medicaid plan for every Medicaid beneficiary.

Governor announces changes to Medicaid coverage

Many Georgia residents have been anxiously awaiting an announcement from Gov. Brian Kemp about changes to Medicaid eligibility. Recently, the governor announced a number of changes to Medicaid coverage in the state. The plan will make Medicaid coverage available for about 50,000 state workers according to estimates provided by the Governor's staff.

During his campaign for office, the governor attacked plans that would provide coverage for most of the 408,000 Georgians who live below the federal poverty level, at about $12,000 per year. He claimed that a one-size-fits-all expansion of Medicaid would be too expensive.

How a lawyer can help with special needs planning

Many families in Georgia with special needs children may be eligible for a variety of federal and state funded programs, but many of these same families are unaware of these programs or do not know how to apply for benefits. An experienced special needs lawyer can provide valuable assistance in such cases.

Special needs lawyers can help a family match the benefits of particular programs with the medical and financial needs of the special needs child. A lawyer who practices special needs law is usually well-acquainted with the state and federal programs that might help a special needs child. Such attorneys can help find programs that will help a particular patient obtain benefits.

Understanding Medicaid eligibility requirements

Many residents of Georgia who are eligible for Medicare frequently do not understand either the nature of the program or the eligibility requirements. Medicaid is a federally funded plan that provides medical care for individuals and families whose annual net income does not exceed limits specified by the state of Georgia.

Medicaid should not be confused with Medicare, which is a separate program that provides medical care based almost entirely upon a person's age.

Watch out for these red flags when you visit a nursing home

When you're looking for a nursing home for your loved one, it is important that you find the right one. It may take weeks to find the right nursing home and seeing it for yourself in person is imperative.

All of the statistics and pamphlets in the world can't take the place of a visit to a nursing home. You want to go there to make sure that the facility is a place where you truly believe your loved one's needs will be met.

Special needs trusts in Georgia

Georgia families that include a person with special needs have a variety of government plans that provide several types and amounts of financial assistance. Some of these programs have financial limits on eligibility, which means that many people who would benefits from the plans are financially disqualified because their income or assets exceed the limits for the plan. Medicaid is one of the most notable examples of how such limits work to deprive otherwise eligible individuals of the benefits of such plans.

To solve such problems estate planning attorneys in Georgia and elsewhere have invented three special needs planning tools known generically as "special needs trusts." These trusts came into existence after Congress made certain changes to the Medicaid eligibility law in 1993. The first type of trust is known as a "(d)(4)(A) trust." This trust can be used to hold assets belonging to the special needs person that would otherwise prevent the person from receiving Medicaid benefits. Assets held in such a trust can be used to pay for the beneficiary's medical care, therapy and equipment not covered by Medicaid. These trusts are also a convenient vehicle to hold the proceeds of a personal injury lawsuit. All assets remaining in a (d)(4)(A) trust at the death of the beneficiary must be paid to the Social Security Administration to reimburse it for amounts paid on the beneficiary's behalf under Medicaid.

Planning is the key to ensuring adequate long term care

Advancing age forces most people to think about their long-term care needs. Where will they live? How will they obtain health care? Who will get their assets when they die?

While natural anxiety inhibits many people from attending to these matters, most eldercare professionals insist that careful advanced planning is the key to ensuring adequate long term care.

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