Wamhoff Financial Planning & Accounting Services: Assisted living

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-With the baby boomer generation aging, many families are faced with the reality of placing a loved one in assisted living. This can be an emotional time, so having a plan in place and being armed with key knowledge, are important to help the family make wise decisions.

Matt Allgeyer, Financial Advisor at Wamhoff Financial Planning & Accounting Services, outlines the top things to consider as you prepare for this transition.

There are more options today, and various stages of care, available to those who need assistance:

• In-home care, allowing the person to stay at home with the assistance of a care-giver who comes to the home at specified days and times to assist with basic living tasks
• Independent living, which typically offers the aging loved one a community in which he or she has access to assistance if needed, but assistance is not provided on a regular basis.
• Assisted living, in which help is provided on a regular basis for basic daily tasks
• Nursing home, which provides skilled health care
• Memory care community, which is a specialized facility designed to serve those living with Alzheimers and dementia.

As our loved ones age, it`s important to have legal documentation in place outlining who has been designated to make financial, health care, and other important decisions on his or her behalf:

• Power of Attorney – this gives a specified person the authority to make certain decisions, which could include items such as financial decisions, gift giving and distribution of funds, and health care matters.
• If a person has Power of Attorney for health matters, he or she has the authority to decide on course of treatment, services provided, and when to stop treatment for the loved one.
• A Health Care Power of Attorney may be a separate document than the general power of attorney, and can name a different person to make these decisions.

When deciding what to do with the home, it`s important to understand that the decisions made can have many implications when it comes to things like the person`s estate, taxes and Medicaid eligibility:

• The house can be sold
• The house could be transferred to a family member
• The house could be placed in an irrevocable trust

Is there a long term care policy in place, and if so, how does it work?

• It`s important to understand, well in advance of needing care, exactly what benefits you`re paying for, and what you can expect the policy to cover.
• Investigate items such as how the payouts are executed, if there is a waiting period to claim benefits, and what qualifying circumstances must be occurring (in many cases, it is the person`s inability to perform two or more daily living activities)