Those who work in the field of estate planning frequently encounter folks who believe that once they have drawn up their will, their estate plan is complete. The reality is that could hardly be farther from the truth.
While your will is always a good estate planning jumping-off point, you shouldn’t neglect the rest of the plans you will need at some future point.
Don’t forget about your long-term care
As senior citizens are living longer, thanks to better self-care and medical advances, they need to have solid plans in place for their care. But it is just as important to have a care manager in place to implement the plan if that becomes necessary.
Dementia can wreak havoc on care plans
One of the cruelest effects of dementia is that it robs its victims of their ability to make decisions for themselves. Even if they sense in more lucid moments that they need help, the condition strips them of the thought processes necessary to put a predetermined care plan into effect.
That’s why involving a care manager in your estate planning process can be so instrumental. This person must be someone whom you trust implicitly. Often it can be an adult child but it can be anyone whose motives are without reproach when it comes to you and your future care.
This is the person who can step in and use a medical power of attorney to get you the level of care that you need once you are no longer capable of making those decisions yourself.
When should a care manager step in?
You certainly don’t want to be stripped of your independence too soon. That’s why it is important to work closely with your estate planning attorney to include specific language about when a care manager can assume the decision-making responsibility for you.
In some cases, such as after an injury occurs, you may only need temporary assistance with your care decisions until you are once again able to resume making them yourself. You will want to include language that indicates this and under which circumstances your health care proxy or care manager can step in.
Make sure your wishes are covered
Maybe it’s your wish to age in place and to make home accommodations for a loss of mobility or other infirmities. You never wanted to wind up in a nursing home, so your long-term care should include sufficient coverage to include in-home caregivers.
By clearing stating your preferences, your care manager should not be able to make changes unless the circumstances clearly warrant it.