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In uncertain times, you may wonder what would happen to you if you got seriously ill. Would your children be able to support you? How would your medical care and assistance affect your finances and theirs?
Without good planning, your illness could cause great financial strain for your children, especially in a soft job market. On the other hand, thoughtful estate planning can help soften the blow and make things easier for any child providing you care.
Nearly half of working adults have taken leave or anticipate taking leave to care for a family member. While this is good news for many people who need assistance, you might not gain complete peace of mind simply from knowing you can count on your child’s support. You might also need to know you’ve arranged to give your child the help he or she needs. The following steps can help:
You may wish to update their will or trust to provide more for the child who acts as your caregiver. If you have other named beneficiaries, especially other children, it is important to explain your reasoning to help discourage feelings of resentment.
You might not have cash, stocks or other liquid assets available to help offset your caregiver’s expenses. In this case, you might show your gratitude by transferring the title of your home, vehicle or other asset to the caregiver. You don’t need to sign over ownership immediately. Creating a life estate or establishing joint ownership will still allow you to retain control over your assets.
If you have a substantial life insurance policy, you may wish to name your caregiver as the beneficiary — or one of the beneficiaries — of this policy.
If you haven’t already looked into Medicaid planning, you might be overlooking one of your best options. Medicaid planning may help you qualify for assistance without forcing you to “spend down” your hard-earned assets. Done right, it might help ensure that your caregiver and other beneficiaries will still benefit from your largesse after you are gone.
In troubled times, it’s reasonable to think about your health and whether your child or children will need to provide you care. Good estate planning can address both your physical health and your family’s financial healthy. The steps you take with the help of an attorney may ensure you receive the care you need and lessen the burden your caregiver may someday face.