How Estate Planning Can Help You Afford Assisted Living

While many folks think estate planning is for the rich or the dying, it’s actually a benefit when done well before you actually need it. It benefits everyone of all asset and income levels, whether you have one child or many. It especially benefits you, if you think you may want or need some level of services in a senior community in the future. 

It turns out that a thought out estate plan, executed well before you move to a community can prepare your assets in a way that leaves more money to your family, gives less money to the government, while providing enough resources for you to enjoy a full and carefree life in a senior community. By executing an estate plan intelligently and early, a huge set of future problems can be dealt with covering all your future needs and inheritance issues, and preventing much of the mess people leave their families when they pass or get old.

How Does Estate Planning Work?

The first step is most definitely to contact a competent estate planning attorney. They will begin any good conversation with a discussion of your current major assets, your family situation, and your desires for your estate when you are gone and while you are alive. Your estate plan should take the following into consideration: who will receive your assets when you pass on, who will make financial and medical decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated, and even allocate funds that can help cover expenses for different senior care options, like assisted living or long term care. There are a few different routes to take to create an estate plan that encompasses all of the above. And of course you can include options that ensure your estate plan has explicit instructions to include assisted living should you want or need it.  

“A good estate plan for single persons and married couples should consider the possible loss of mental capacity as well.” Notes Frank Campisano, head of the Elder Law Division in SCC Legal, a prominent NJ Elder Law Firm. “Many people wait until dementia is active before they come to us but that can make legal proceedings and planning much more difficult.”  Frank advises that an effective estate plan should contain legal documents that plan for all types of disability. These documents usually include a Durable Power of Attorney and an Advanced Medical Directive and Proxy which allow for a client to appoint a trusted family member or friend to serve as an agent to make financial and medical decisions for the client when he or she is no longer able to because of a loss of mental capacity. For instance, if you are diagnosed with dementia, your attorney can include documentation within your estate plan that allows a trusted family member to make decisions that will help you receive professional memory care at an assisted living facility. 


Another effective tool to incorporate into an estate plan is a Revocable Living Trust, which calls for an Incapacity Trustee to step up and take control of the assets within the trust when the client is incapacitated. A revocable living trust can also protect a senior client’s financial assets by the appointment of a younger trustee, usually the client’s adult child. This will protect vulnerable seniors from scam artists who steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from the elderly. Under such an arrangement, the elderly client would need the approval and consent of the trustee to make large expenditures of money, thereby thwarting the efforts of the scam artists who prey on the elderly. Online and phone scams are on the rise, and the people behind them are becoming even more clever. That being said, incorporating a Revocable Living Trust can help you save money that can be allocated towards your assisted living plan.


An experienced estate attorney will often recommend that his clients obtain long-term-care (LTC) insurance which can be used to pay for their stay in a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC). Many clients are reluctant to purchase an expensive long-term-care policy which they may never use. In such a case, elder law attorney Frank Campisano recommends the purchase of a whole life insurance policy with a long-term-care rider. “People become fatigued by paying the LTC insurance premiums which can only be used for Long Term Care, but a Whole Life policy has both a death benefit and can contain a rider which will enable the client to convert a portion of the policy’s death benefit to pay for long-term care in a CCRC if needed.” 

Start Your NJ Estate Plan Today to Plan for Senior Care 

Unfortunately when people receive an unexpected medical diagnosis or they experience a major fall accidentally, it can be tough to cover expenses for long-term care without a valid estate plan in place. On top of this, the financial strain can result in family arguments during what is already a stressful and emotional time. We cannot stress this enough, don’t wait until it’s too late to make your wishes clear. Speak with a NJ estate planning attorney today and get to work on your estate plan. Being proactive now will help enhance the quality of your life in your golden years – no matter what obstacles you come across down the road. 

If you are in need of a New Jersey estate planning attorney, please visit SCC Legal for more information:

If you are searching for a NJ continuing care retirement community that offers scaled senior care like independent living, assisted living and long term care, please visit United Methodist Communities at Bristol Glen:


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