The planning involved in protecting someone’s assets from the devastating costs of long-term care often spark questions with regards to its ethical and moral standpoints.
As to a moral standpoint, Alzheimer’s is a destructive disease that requires a specific kind of care, usually involving a long-term care facility. While there is financial help for people with other diseases, such as cancer or heart disease, there isn’t much financial help for nursing home care that doesn’t involve losing, or spending down, your life savings to practically nothing.
The asset preservation planning involved, from an ethical and legal standpoint, simply takes advantage of opportunities that exist within the law.
In this Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson, Southern Illinois Elder Law attorney, presents another topic covered in The Alzheimer’s Guide: Practical Advice for Families, Caregivers and Professionals and discusses a common question people have in regards to the ethical and moral positions of the planning involved in protecting someone’s life savings from the devastating long-term care costs that can be a part of the Alzheimer’s process.
Is Protecting Assets From Long-Term Care Costs Ethical and Moral?
Hi, I’m Wes Coulson and this is your Elder Law Minute. Today we’re going to talk about another one of the topics that we cover in our Alzheimer’s Guide (contact us to get your free copy) and that is one aspect of the subject of the planning that we encourage people to do to protect their life savings from the often devastating long-term care costs that can be part of the Alzheimer’s process.
So, I’ll have people ask, “Well, is it moral? Is it okay to do that? Is this planning legal?”
As to the moral question, I take a broader perspective I think a little bit of morality. I think of two people that are otherwise identically situated in their 80s and they’re afflicted with two different diseases. One has cancer or heart disease and the other has Alzheimer’s. Both are very much diseases.
We say to the person, or the couple that has a family member who has cancer or heart disease, “We’re so sorry about that, but we have you covered financially. This shouldn’t cost you your life savings.”
People with Alzheimer’s need a different kind of care and we have a distinction that says, “No, you get no help. If you need to go into the nursing home, the only help you’ll get is if you’ve gone through your life savings and can qualify for Medicaid.”
So, I don’t see any moral distinction between those two families. The distinction is purely a legal one. From a legal standpoint, I will tell you that everything we do is simply taking advantage of opportunities that exist within the law.
The analogy I like to give there is: When you file your tax return every year, if you have deductions available, if you have exemptions available, do you take them?
Well, I think everyone says, “Well, yes I do.” Well, in this case there are similar things that are available to you, except that since you haven’t gone through the process you don’t know about them. And that frankly is why you need the help of a competent, experienced elder law attorney. Come talk to us, we’ll be happy to help with that. Thanks.
For more topics from The Alzheimer’s Guide, visit these articles:
- Can Someone Diagnosed With Alzheimer’s Still Execute Legal Documents?
- Memory Care: The relatively new option for Alzheimer’s care
- Alzheimer’s and the Five-Year Look-Back Period: The time to plan is NOW!
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Dent-Coulson Elder Law is dedicated to providing families in the St. Louis area with their Elder Law needs. Our practice areas include Asset Preservation Planning, Veterans Benefits, Medicaid Eligibility, Alzheimer’s Planning, Special Needs Planning, Estate Planning and more. We understand the financial challenges you may face as you and your loved ones grow older. At Dent-Coulson Elder Law, our clients’ well-being is our number one priority. For immediate help, call (618)632-7000 or (314)567-9292 or Contact Us and we will get in touch as soon as possible.