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Avoiding potential pitfalls in your long-term care planning

One advantage to the rapid development of medical technology is that it is allowing us to live longer. As people live longer, their chances of developing diseases associated with advanced age also increase. This can be especially difficult for families of individuals suffering with dementia. Alzheimer's disease and similar conditions, often leaving victims unable to handle their ordinary daily tasks. For many of these victims, remembering to pay their bills can be nearly impossible, much less taking care of their personal hygiene.

Many individuals of advanced age and their families seek out assistance from long term care facilities. In fact, it's estimated that for Americans fortunate enough to reach senior status, at least 41 percent of them will eventually require care in nursing homes. The numbers are truly staggering when you look at the amount of public funding spent on nursing home care. It's estimated that in 2012, nursing home and long-term care cost taxpayers over $80 billion.

One would think that with so much money flowing into nursing homes that the long-term care industry would make a priority to protect resident's health and welfare. Unfortunately, that's not always the case. Some of these facilities fail to attain standards that most of us would consider necessary to maintaining our emotional well-being.

That's where long-term care planning can help. With the assistance of your attorney, you can designate certain trusted individuals to look after your best interests. This applies to handling your finances as well as looking out for your personal needs.

Making a decision to appoint someone as your guardian in the event of crises or granting other emergency fiduciary duties is an important step. Like any trusted position, there is always the potential for abuse or neglect of those powers. Your attorney can assist you in creating your long-term care plan so that you are not at the mercy of individuals engaging in such misconduct.

Although New York State's estate planning and trust laws are quite complicated, your attorney can walk you through all of the potential pitfalls you might encounter. Estate planning attorneys often have the experience required to anticipate problems you may never have even considered.

Source: Coalition for Quality Care, "Improving Nursing Home Care: Consumer Priorities for CMS" accessed Feb. 24, 2015

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