Navigating the Legal Aspects of Transitioning to Assisted Living

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Recognizing a Need for Assisted Living

While the decision to transition into assisted living can be a challenging one, it can also mark the beginning of a chapter of peace of mind for all involved parties. Our loved ones will all come to a point where they may need extra care to assist them with everyday needs, and we may not always be able to provide that care on our own.

Planning ahead and considering all essential aspects is critical to ensuring the transition is as streamlined as possible. Read below to learn more about the legal aspects of transitioning into assisted living in Michigan.

Necessary Planning

One of the best ways to ensure an easier transition into assisted living is to include your loved one in the decision. This process allows them to maintain control over this new chapter in their life and ease their mind.

Researching potential assisted living facilities and learning what to expect can help nurture their need to remain in control of important decisions and begin to wrap their brain around a significant step in their lives.

Having several discussions regarding specific wants and wishes for end-of-life care and preparing for assisted living can mean less room for conflict and confusion in the future.

Estate Planning is a Crucial Step When Considering Assisted Living

Among other significant transitions in one’s life, it is a great time to ensure you have a comprehensive and effective estate plan when considering moving into assisted living. Examining all angles and creating legal documents can ensure that less confusion exists and that your loved one’s wishes are expressly documented for all relative parties to follow.

Creating a living will is a common first step in a comprehensive estate plan. A living will can address things such as what medical procedures they would like done in various scenarios, how finances will be handled, and more.

Doctors and other medical staff, caregivers, surviving family members, and more can all benefit from having a clear plan in place before transitioning to assisted living so everyone is on the same page.

Work with your estate planning attorney to create an effective will. Ensure that you have considered all the assets, who those assets will be dispersed to, and more.

Finally, communicate with loved ones to ensure that the will’s directives are clear and that all relevant parties know where a copy of the will is so they can refer to it when necessary.

It’s important to note that if a will is done in advance, it is reviewed from time to time to ensure the directions are still valid and nothing has changed significantly in assets, wishes, or beneficiaries that have been designated.

Medicaid Planning for Seniors

Another legal resource to consider is creating an irrevocable trust. For those who will need to rely on Medicaid to help subsidize expenses later in life, it’s important to ensure the eligibility limits are met. An irrevocable trust helps to secure these assets.

Suppose you aren’t setting up an irrevocable trust for your assets. In that case, the value of those assets will generally be calculated and included in the estate’s total value, which may make your loved one ineligible. By creating an irrevocable trust and funding it with some of those assets, they are typically safe from being included in the calculations, thereby allowing seniors more room to be eligible for Medicaid should they need to rely on it.

Other Important Documents to Gather

Some other important documents you should gather with your elderly loved one are listed below.

Prescription medication lists – work with doctors to ensure these are up to date and dose information is accurate.

Transfer on death paperwork for vehicles – if the account isn’t set up this way, work with your loved one to ensure that this information is added for a streamlined transition upon death.

Tax documents – work with our team to ensure that tax documents are up to date and that any future tax paperwork can be easily gathered so you can help ensure these are done in a timely fashion in the future.

Directions for funeral/burial – if this information is not within the will, discuss this with your loved one to fully understand that you are on the same page and can confirm that their wishes are carried out while they are still of sound mind and if willing to discuss now rather than later.

Transfer on Death paperwork for real estate – if assets such as real estate are not in the trust and therefore designated to transfer upon death, consider adding a transfer on death to these assets on the account level through the mortgage company or bank.

Bank accounts – similar to the above information, walk through all active accounts at the bank with your loved one to ensure that they are listed as transfer on death or incorporated into a trust account.

An Advocate for Your Loved One

Our team understands how delicate the topic of estate planning can be, but we also understand how imperative the process is to preserve assets and protect the legacy of your loved one. Almost everyone can benefit from effective estate planning regardless of what stage you or your loved one may be in.

Let us be an extension of your advocacy for your loved ones when they need it the most. With extensive experience in estate planning and other relevant services, you and your loved ones are in caring and competent hands with our team.

Contact our office today at 248-997-4394 to set up your case evaluation and learn more about how we can best assist you.

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