Today, I want to offer 3 tips to help open the lines of communication between parent and child when it comes to the difficult subject of long term care.
Tip 1: Explain that Elder Law Attorneys are Passionate About Their Clients – Elders!
Elder law attorneys have deliberately chosen a career in a specialized area of law to serve elders. Moreover, Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct require lawyers to act in the best interests of their clients. The client of an elder law attorney is the elder. Not the child.
Elder law attorneys are equipped to facilitate familial harmony; they place the client’s concerns at the forefront of any discussion, and they orchestrate a plan that can protect a nest egg from the catastrophic expenses of long term care and improve quality of life. An inheritance is nice – and usually a much larger inheritance is a by-product of the plan devised by an excellent elder law attorney – but the first thing I explain to families I meet with is that the inheritance is not the focus. The client’s quality and dignity of life is priority #1.
Tip 2: Gather Information with Parents in No-Pressure Environment
Parents love to do things with their kids, and adult children likewise value the time they have with their aging parents. One easy way to spend time with your parents while gathering information is to attend a free seminar hosted by a local elder law attorney. Don’t be afraid to research, communicate and explain important statistics to your parents.
Tip 3: Use Easy to Understand Statistics to Convey Your Message:
Did you know that if you are over age 65:
- you have a 7.2% chance of having an auto accident every year;
- a 6.15% chance of needing to file a homeowner’s insurance claim; and
- a 70% chance of needing long-term care?
Here is the statistic you must be concerned with:
- 13% of drivers are uninsured;
- 15% of homeowners are uninsured; but
- 90% of senior citizens are uninsured and unprotected against long term care needs.
87% of people insure themselves against an event that has a 7.2% annual probability;
85% of individuals protect themselves against an event with a 6.15% annual probability; but
Only 10% protect themselves from an event with a 90% probability!
Medicaid is a government program meant for those who plan for it. I encourage you to attend a free seminar on the subject, as it is shocking that so many smart people do not realize that Medicaid – not Medicare – can be used to pay for long term care.
One common misconception is, “We don’t need to plan for our long term care yet, we’re only 65.” Almost half of all long-term care claimants are under age 65 at the time of disability. Every day that goes by without a plan, the family is risking possible delay or even forfeiture of government benefits that are meant to pay for catastrophic long term care costs.
Talking to your parents about their long term care options can be understandably difficult, and no other generation has had to simultaneously balance so many familial responsibilities at one time. But there is a new breed of estate planning and elder law that takes a family-friendly, solution-based approach making it easier to discuss difficult subjects.
Photographer: graur razvan ionut Evan H. Farr on Google +