How Life Care Planning Differs from Traditional Elder Law

Whether you’re caring for an older loved one, or starting to plan ahead for your own future, it quickly becomes clear for most that you “don’t know what you don’t know.” Many of our older clients first reached out to us not knowing enough to even ask the right questions. They may have said, “Why do I need Life Care Planning? I already have an estate plan.”

One of the main distinctions is that Life Care Planning focuses on building and maintaining a continuous relationship with the older client and their family, rather than taking a traditional transactional approach based on here and now. In Life Care Planning we look at the bigger picture – and create a comprehensive plan that considers the financial, legal, and personal care needs of the older client over the long term. This type of ongoing relationship acts as a built-in support system for the client and their family throughout the long-term care journey.

This support system is vital once a client has a health crisis or a devastating diagnosis.  Consider the case of a widow in her seventies who suffers a sudden stroke, is rushed to the hospital and later to a rehab facility. At the end of rehab, her only daughter would be faced with the decision of whether to have her mom discharged to the daughter’s home, or to another care facility – but she’s overwhelmed by this and unsure how to make the right decision for her mom’s well-being. After all, the daughter has her own family and career commitments to manage, and is uncertain she will be able to manage her mom’s care too. On the other hand, if she doesn’t believe she can manage care at home, then she’s worried about how she would even pay for a care facility.

If she retains a Life Care Planning law firm to represent her mother, a care coordinator can conduct an assessment of her mom’s needs and recommend the right options. The attorneys can work with her mom to update her estate plan and give the daughter legal authority to act for her, as well as assist in solving the cost-of-care puzzle. With this integrated team approach, you not only have the legal and financial issues sorted, but you also have peace of mind knowing that your loved one is getting the right care they need.

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