Add in the possibility of long term care and the number of choices bewilders most families. Here are a few simple guidelines to keep in mind:
1. In Pennsylvania, it will not help to start divesting assets of the stricken relative. Deeding real estate and retitling bank accounts are ignored by state agencies for up to five years if state medical assistance is needed. Divesting yourself of assets could make you ineligible for state benefits.
2. Does your loved one have a power of attorney? Powers of attorney provide the ability of someone to act on your behalf for financial and (potentially) medical decisions. It is far more cost effective to have a power of attorney than to try to get a court ordered guardianship if the family member can no longer handle their own medical and financial affiars. A power of attorney cannot be executed by someone who is not of sound mind.
3. The state will not force you to sell your home. As long as one spouse is alive, there is no way for the state to force you to sell their home. Whether the family wants to sell the home is another matter and one that requires careful consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney.
4. Make a will. A person cannot make a will and sign it if they are not otherwise of sound mind. Especially in cases of dementia and Alzheimer's Disease, the window of opportunity to express your wishes can close quickly.
If you have any questions, of if you would like further information, experience estate planning attorney Scott M. Amori, Esq., is ready and willing to answer them. Please contact us at (570) 421-1406 for a no obligation consultation.