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My estate planning and elder law practice have given me insights into these topics that I never thought possible. I encounter questions on a daily basis in my practice, how can an individual get the most out of retirement and how do you stretch your money and protect your wealth for future generations?
I am an estate planning and elder law attorney who happens to have a Master's in Law and Taxation as well as a Certified Elder Law Attorney under the authorization of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. However, more than any class or degree I have received, representing numerous families over the years and watching their decisions, and in some cases mistakes, has really provided me the most prevalent insight into these questions and their answers.
I firmly believe it is very important to work with a financial professional to assist you during your working or earning years, as well as heading into your retirement years. Although it is possible for some people to “do it alone,” I’m a firm believer in hiring professionals to provide assistance in their area of expertise.
The small fee you will pay will be far worth it in the long run versus what you would save in the short term. Having a financial professional and a plan for retirement, not only how to get there, but also how you will live during retirement — is imperative. Stretching your money during retirement is similar to when you were saving for retirement, being disciplined, and having a goal in mind.
The one piece that no one ever wants to talk about is the cost of long-term care and how we’re going to pay for it. Although none of us really want to receive long-term care in our home or in a nursing facility, statistically it is a likely possibility that we need to consider.
Long-term care in a nursing home will cost anywhere from 10,000 to $12,000 a month. And in-home care, depending on the amount of care that is being received, can cost anywhere from $17,000 to $20,000 a month. This care is often necessary and needed but if there isn’t a plan in place, it can devastate a family pretty quickly and wipe out all of their savings.
The most obvious way to pay for long-term care is to simply self-insure, and make certain you have enough assets or investments to cover the cost. I find this to be a very difficult proposition, not only because it is impossible to know ahead of time how much care you are going to need, but also because the cost of the care in the future is very unpredictable. I remember at the beginning of my career the cost of a nursing home was around $5,000 a month, and now it is well over $10,000 and in some cases in our area $12,000.
I honestly don’t think it is out of the realm to predict the cost will more than double in a short period of time. But for the people who were planning to self-insure, it was certainly a shock to them when they finally got to the point of needing it and learning that we were closer to $12,000 a month. Although this can be possible for wealthy individuals, it is not typically possible for the middle class, since they cannot accumulate enough wealth to absorb $12,000 a month in costs. The other thing to remember is that often times one spouse is the caregiver for another spouse, and when the good spouse ends up needing care himself or herself, both spouses end up in the nursing home to the tune of $25,000 a month. It would be very difficult to self-insure this kind of need.
Another option is long-term care insurance. I am not licensed to sell insurance and have done numerous blogs on the topic of long-term care insurance. I am a big fan in general of insurance because I love that it could keep an individual in their own home for as long as possible. If you are looking at long-term care insurance policies, I would definitely look at a rider that will pay for in-home care.
Pennsylvania has products that are hybrid policies which are life insurance policies, as well as riders that provide in-home care or nursing care. Pennsylvania also participates in the partnership plan, which will allow an individual who has a long-term care policy to exempt a number of assets equal to the amount of benefit that they have received. I am a big fan of both of these and if an individual is able to afford it, I believe it is absolutely a good investment. You certainly want to talk to an agent to determine if it is something that is possible for you and your loved one, as well as whether it is financially doable.
In many cases, self-insuring or long-term care insurance is not an option, for a myriad of reasons, but often times we are stuck in a situation where a spouse does not have any way to pay for the long-term care, and they are reliant upon the crisis rules. Currently, in the state of Pennsylvania, the crisis rules are very favorable and will allow us to protect 100% of the assets of the spouse in the community. If you are interested in learning more about Medicaid crisis planning, please call our office at 717-844-9218, or click the link here to RSVP to our upcoming workshop to learn more about it.
Protecting your health and well-being is a top priority, especially as we get older. One important way to safeguard yourself is by creating a health care power of attorney document. This legal document designates a trusted individual to make health care decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. But as important as creating this document is, its not enough to simply have it you also need to make sure its in the right hands.A recent story shared by a friend highlights just how critical it is to ensure your healthcare power of attorney is given to the appropriate parties. In this case, a woman was acting as the power of attorney for her mother but didnt have the document on hand when her mother needed medical attention. The hospital demanded the document immediately, and in the chaos of the moment, the daughter ended up agreeing to have her mother fill out a new one on the spot.The problem arose when the nurse asked who should be listed as a power of attorney. The daughter suggested including herself and her mothers husband, who had raised her and was like a father to her. But her mother insisted that only her daughter be listed, causing tension and awkwardness between the family members. It was a situation that could have been avoided if the daughter had simply provided the existing document to the hospital.This story underscores the importance of not only creating a healthcare power of attorney but also ensuring that it is given to the appropriate parties. At Bellomo & Associates, we urge our clients to not only create these documents but to also provide copies to their doctors and keep them on file at hospitals. We provide extra copies so family members can have them as well. Taking these steps can help you avoid any unnecessary stress or heartache should an emergency situation arise.Creating a healthcare power of attorney is a smart move, but its only half the battle. To ensure that your wishes are carried out properly, its crucial to share the document with your healthcare providers and loved ones. Dont let a lack of preparation cause unnecessary tension or problems for your family take the necessary steps to protect yourself and your loved ones.Please give us a call at 717-845-5390 and well set you up with a free consultation or register for a free workshop by clicking here.
I have been an Estate Planning and Elder Law Attorney for approximately 20 years. I have been fortunate enough to obtain the designation to become a Certified Elder Law Attorney and to receive a Master of Law in Taxation and a certificate in Estate Planning. There is no doubt that finding Elder Law as a career was the best thing that allowed me to go to work every day, excited to assist people and help them. Over the years, I have known a bit about Life Care Planning and have admired it from a distance. The bottom line was I did not understand it nor truly understand what the purpose was and how it could help clients. Over time, I became frustrated in meetings when clients would ask me if their mom was safe to be at home, or what modifications would need to be done to keep mom at home, or how long could mom stay in the assisted living, and under what circumstances would she then have to move on to another level of care. I did not know the answers to many of these questions and, although I did have referral sources, I felt inadequate, or disappointed, that I was not able to help the client directly. I have also known Meg Motter for many years. Meg is a Masters prepared Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has been in the industry for most of her career. I knew I always wanted to work with Meg, but unfortunately, the timing and the money never worked out until the Spring of 2021. When the opportunity presented itself and she was available, I acted immediately and, without even truly understanding the Life Care Planning model, jumped in with two feet, knowing I had the right person. Now that our firm is knee-deep in Life Care Planning, there is no doubt that it was the best decision that I have made, mostly for the clients that we serve. The assistance that she can provide, which we were not able to offer previously, is astounding. I believe that everything happens for a reason and, although it took several years for us to embrace the model and to have the right person, there is no doubt that it is the right thing for our clients, and I am excited to share everything about the life care planning model to anyone who will listen. Monthly Life Care Planning Workshops are offered at both our York and Lancaster offices. If you would like to learn more about Life Care Planning and our Client Care Advocate, Meg Motter, LCSW, CDP please reach out to the office at (717) 208-4546.
In our tranquil corners of the world, where generations build legacies, we often find ourselves at a crossroads one that leads to choices that impact not just our finances but our familys future. Today, lets journey together and explore the age-old question: Wills vs. Trusts. Which path is right for you?The Legacy of Love and SecurityFor many, this journey begins with the dawn of financial stability. As your hard-earned assets grow, so does the desire to protect and secure them. Its not just about the numbers; its a promise of love, devotion, and the legacy you intend to leave behind.A well-crafted will is like a love letter to your family. It ensures that your assets are distributed according to your wishes, providing your loved ones with the financial security they deserve. It offers peace of mind, knowing that your legacy is well-guarded.Yet, here in York, we understand that privacy and efficiency matter, too. This is where trusts come into the picture. A revocable living trust, for example, offers the privilege of sidestepping the often lengthy and public probate process. With a trust, your assets are distributed privately, sparing your loved ones from unnecessary stress and public scrutiny.Embracing the Golden Years with GraceNow, lets consider the beautiful chapter of our lives when we move gracefully into our golden years. For many seniors, the prospect of skilled nursing facility care can be daunting, both emotionally and financially. Its a time when you want to ensure that your lifetime of hard work doesnt disappear in the blink of an eye.Wills and trusts play pivotal roles in Medicaid planning. But when it comes to securing your legacy while obtaining Medicaid benefits, trusts, particularly irrevocable trusts, can be life changing. These trusts enable you to preserve a legacy for your heirs, all while qualifying for Medicaid Assistance. This decision is more than just financial; its about preserving dignity and providing your loved ones with the peace and security they need during this chapter of life.Building a Strong Foundation for the FutureAnd for our young families, life is a whirlwind of dreams and aspirations. Amid all this, you must ensure your childrens future is secure. Your primary concern is their well-being, their dreams, and their security.Wills are the fundamental pillars of estate planning. They allow you to name guardians for your children, should the unthinkable happen. Its a promise that their future will be safeguarded.But, for those who seek to go above and beyond, revocable living trusts can provide an additional layer of protection. These trusts help you manage your assets efficiently, ensuring a seamless transition for your children if something were to happen to you. Its about laying a foundation for their future, one built on love, security, and opportunity.The Choice is PersonalThe choice between wills and trusts is deeply personal. It depends on your unique circumstances, your familys needs, and your dreams for the future. No matter where you are on your lifes journey, were here to guide you, to connect your hearts desires with the path you choose.This isnt just about assets; its about your legacy of love, security, and dreams fulfilled. Were here to help you make the right choice for your family, and together, we can build a legacy that will stand the test of time.
We Educate so what happened to the Bellomo Family doesn't happen to yours!Our firms mission is to ensure that you and your family never needlessly, painfully suffer. Every team member has a personal story that has brought us here to advocate for you and your family. We want to replace your burden with peace of mind. We have the answers, but more important, we have your back.Bellomo & Associates, LLC advises Individuals and families, business owners, senior citizens, and their families about the estate planning and elder law challenges facing them today. For seniors and their families facing the issues of aging, or for those of any age who wish to protect their familys financial future, we counsel clients and provide solutions on Asset Protection; Specials Needs Trusts; Wills; Trust Design; Medicaid; Estate Planning; Nursing Home Matters; and Estate Administration. For our clients who own businesses, our team assists them with succession planning for their business in conjunction with their estate planning. We have office locations in York, PA, and Lancaster, PA.We offer FREE workshops! Our workshops are fun and entertaining ways to learn! We provide you with the information to decide what is right for you. If after attending, you decide we arent the right fit no problem! Youll never feel any pressure from our team.