Atlanta Elder Law Attorney: When You Must Manage Your Elderly Parent’s Finances

Atlanta Elder Law Attorney: When You Must Manage Your Elderly Parent’s Finances

Atlanta elder law attorney

Elder law attorneys in Atlanta Georgia very often find themselves advising adult children of the elderly on the intricacies of managing their parents’ finances.  While it may seem straightforward at first, there are a lot of details and difficulties that can get in the way.  There are so many things to coordinate, and often the parent is less than helpful in the process.  Being somewhat prepared and having access to an experienced elder law or estate lawyer in Atlanta are two of the ways you can help avoid some of the more common pitfalls, such as:

  • Memory Loss – Memory loss is prevalent among the elderly, and it’s actually one of the big reasons that adult children are called in to take over finances. Unfortunately, it also makes the job that much more difficult because the parent isn’t able to answer important questions such as “How much do you owe?” or “When is this bill due?”
  • Role Reversal – For the majority of the adult child’s life, the parent has been in charge. Taking over and being firm with the parent can be more than a little uncomfortable.  On top of that, it can be frustrating and cause resentment to see the person who taught you so much no longer following their own advice.
  • Lack of Information – Your parent may have chosen to be forthcoming about finances with an elder law lawyer here in Atlanta, but that doesn’t mean that they want to let their children in on all the financial details of their life. Previous generations found it improper to discuss money, resulting in an air of secrecy that can be difficult to break through.

So, how should you deal with these obstacles?

As with so many other aspects of life, the best way to deal with problems is to avoid them altogether.  The earlier you and your parent start meeting with an Atlanta elder law attorney that you trust, the more likely you are to get the information you need.  As an added bonus, your parent will have the ability to make his or her wishes known in order to offer guidance on how to handle their affairs if and when all of the responsibility is passed on to you.

No matter what stage the parent is at, the subject needs to be approached.  Again, earlier is better, as the parent is more likely to understand the importance of what is happening.  You may choose to start the conversation by relating it to your own estate planning or by bringing up a situation you heard about recently, such as the death of a celebrity.  A good elder lawyer in Atlanta GA can offer suggestions on how to bring up the subject, as well as how to help steer the conversation in the right direction.

What is Long Term Care and Why Do I Need To Think About It Now? Atlanta GA Elder Lawyer

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By Steve Worrall, Atlanta GA elder lawyer

As an Atlanta GA elder lawyer, I help people plan for long-term care costs on a regular basis.

Long-term care can include any service that helps people who have a prolonged illness. The illness can be a physical disability or a cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer’s disease or Dementia.  The services may include help with activities of daily living, home health care, adult day care, hospice care, nursing home care, or care in an assisted living facility.  The level of assistance required can include physical therapy, administration of medication, and help with daily activities such as bathing, eating, and dressing.

Paying for long-term care can be financially devastating to families. Contrary to what many people believe, Medicare coverage will not pay for most of the long-term care they will need if they suffer from a long-term illness. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the average costs in the U.S. (in 2009) are:

  • $198/day for a semi-private room in a nursing home
  • $219/day for a private room in a nursing home
  • $3,131/month for care in an Assisted Living Facility (for a one-bedroom unit)
  • $21/hour for a Home Health Aide
  • $19/hour for a Homemaker services
  • $67/day for care in an Adult Day Health Care Center

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that because you are now young and healthy you don’t need to worry about long-term care, but consider this:

  • Life expectancy after age 65 has now increased to 17.9 years, up from 1940 when life expectancy after 65 was only 13 extra years.  The longer people live, the greater the chance they will need assistance due to chronic conditions.
  • 44% of people reaching age 65 are expected to enter a nursing home at least once in their lifetime and 53% of them will stay for one year or longer.

So, the bottom line is that millions of us are going to need long-term care.   It is important to put an estate plan in place that will protect your assets if you become disabled.  I’ve seen too many instances where a family has waited until a crisis strikes to take action.  Most of the time it’s then too late to save their assets and income from the hands of such a facility.

But instead, you can talk to an estate planning attorney now to ensure your bills will be covered in the long-run without losing your house, your assets or other income sources in the process.   To get started, simply call me, your neighborhood Atlanta elder law attorney at 770-425-6060 for a free Peace of Mind Georgia Family Treasures Planning Session.

Together we’ll walk through the complicated world of long-term care planning to ensure your family is protected when they need it the most.