March 31, 2021
The Elder Care Journey and a Free Book Offer
So this week on the show I will highlight the book, The Caregivers Legal Guide to Planning for a Loved One With Chronic Illness – this book will give you some guide, kind of create a roadmap for the long-term care journey, the elder care continuum of needing maybe home care or assisted living or assisted living with memory care or nursing home care. Our book that I wrote is specifically to help you navigate that long-term care journey, to give you insider strategies from an advisor and certified elder law attorney that has helped countless families. I’ll also share points and deep dive on long term care and many more!
In this episode, you’ll learn…
- Chris’ positive focus for the week
- Book: The Caregiver’s Legal Guide Planning for a Loved One With Chronic Illness
- Preview of my second book
- How we can help to protect your assets
- Insider’s guide on how to plan for long-term care
- Gift taxes and income tax
- Long Term Care
- A Case Study
- Financial Power of Attorney
- Key Legal Documents
- Estate Planning
- Long Term Care Insurance
- Planning Strategy
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Follow us on Social Media:
This is the Chris Berry Show. Expert information on wealth, estate and tax planning for the second half of life. Information that you can understand. Here’s your host, Chris Berry.
Hey, this is Chris Berry with Castle Wealth Group, very excited for another episode of the Chris Berry Show. And we like to start these off with a positive focus, just something positive that’s happened recently. And for me a positive focus, a professional one is that I’m finishing up my second book. So I wrote one book called The Caregiver’s Legal Guide Planning for a Loved One With Chronic Illness. And you know what, if you want a copy of this, we have a bunch of them at our office, all you have to do is give our office a call at (844) 885-4200 (844) 885-4200.
And if we still have some copies left, we’ll put a copy in the mail, just make sure to leave your name, address and phone number and we’ll mail you out our free copy of that. Or you can go to castlewealthlegal.com and just request a free copy. And we’ll ship that out to you at absolutely no cost, we just have some laying around the office. And rather than collecting dust in our office, we’d rather send them out to you. If you’re a caregiver, and you’re concerned about long-term care costs either for a loved one or for yourself, you’ll find this guide very helpful.
But my parts of focus is that I’m finishing up the final touches on my second book, which is called The Retirement and Legacy Blueprint, where we lay out the five key areas of retirement and legacy planning, which is income investment, tax planning, health care planning, and legacy planning. So just feeling very productive, putting on my author hat.
So this week on the show, what I wanted to do is just talk more about that first book, actually, The Caregivers Legal Guide to Planning for a Loved One With Chronic Illness. And so what we’re going to do is talk about long-term care, we’re going to do a deep dive on long-term care today. And again, if you want us, for the loyal listeners out there, if you do want a free copy, no strings attached, just give our office a call at (844) 885-4200. And ask for a copy of the Caregivers Legal Guide.
Again, this is going to be a handbook, insider secrets and planning for Medicaid veterans benefits and making sure either you or a loved one gets the best care possible as we move into retirements and start the elder care journey. So give our office a call if you want a copy of that. And as long as we still have copies left, we’ll make sure to send that out to you.
So I want to do a deep dive on long-term care, because I think long-term care is one of the big three risks for families right now. The big three risks, I think, are market volatility, market risk, especially if you’re around retirement age, because you have to worry about sequence of returns. And you don’t have as much time for that money to make a comeback if the markets were to go down. The second big risk, and we’ve been harping on this for last couple of years, as we’ve watched this debt bubble continue to grow is taxes, especially with the change in president.
And some of these proposals we see coming across, taxes going up in the future can have a detrimental effect on your retirement and what you leave as a legacy to the next generation. And then third big risk, and this is what we’re going to spend a lot of time talking about today is long-term care risk and long-term care costs. And this is something our firm has really specialized in for over 10 years, I’d say about 15 years. Really one of the big concerns a lot of our clients have is the devastating cost of long-term care.
A little bit about my background in addition to being an author, apparently I wear many hats, as well as being an investment advisor. One of the first things I was and still are or still is, is what’s called a certified elder law attorney. So I’m one of only a handful of certified law attorneys in Michigan, I think there’s 17 of us right now as well as across the whole nation. There’s only a handful of us.
And this designation, the SCLA designation has been around since 1993, and when we’re talking about elder Law, what we’re talking about is like asset protection and helping families navigate the long-term care journey. So it’s a very important area of law. So a lot of people are familiar with estate planning and I’ll get into this in more detail. But a lot of people have like a will and trust and they sat down with an estate planning attorney at some point during their life. Well understand this, estate planning is just planning for what happens when you die, like to be honest, that’s pretty easy. We avoid probate, make sure your stuff goes where it’s supposed to.
Simple as that. But elder law is playing for what happens if you don’t and you continue to live and face all the issues that go along with it really making sure that your money lasts as long as you do and we look at it from a financial standpoint, a legal standpoint, a tax standpoint, it’s really about understanding that people are living longer than ever and this is one of the things we touched upon in actually my new book Longevity and how it exasperates, easy for me to say right. That’s that’s what I get for trying to sound smart.
Exacerbates, it exacerbates a lot of the other risks so the longer you live the better chance you’re going to need long-term care costs right. And really since 2005 when I started doing this and became a certified elder law attorney in 2008 which seems like a lifetime, I guess it’s a lifetime maybe of a dog but it seems like a lifetime ago. I understood that right off the bat I wasn’t getting calls like mom or dad passed away, I was getting calls mom or dad fell, broke her hip and needed long-term care.
And they were looking at paying eight to 12, 13, 14, $15,000 a month and so how in the world are you going to pay for that. How are you going to protect your assets A, to make sure that you get the best care possible and then B, to make sure that those assets lasts at least as long as you do and especially if you’re married to make sure that, that healthy spouse isn’t completely impoverished. Getting those calls from clients is really what started me down this path of exploring strategies to help families navigate the long-term care journey and not to boast but to be honest with my background and experience in this area of running an elder law practice and investment management attacks practice pulling all of this together, having tools both from a legal and we have proprietary and trademark tools that we use on the legal side to help families protect what they’ve worked so hard for.
I have a trademark legal process and then with some of the financial and insurance strategies that we have, I don’t think there’s anyone that’s better situated to help families navigate the long-term care journey then our firm. It’s not my personality to boast but there’s not that many certified elder law attorneys in the state of Michigan let alone across the whole nation and it really is the gold standard where we have to be peer reviewed, sit down, take an exam and it’s a six-hour exam and the last statistic I heard is that other attorneys have sat down and took that SCLA exam, I think only about 15 or 20% passed. So it’s a pretty tough exam.
And then a couple, not only the legal structures or the legal understanding that we have as a firm but you couple that with the holistic planning that we do in terms of making sure that your investments match your risk tolerance, looking at specific investment tools that can help be leveraged for long-term care, insurance tools to be used for long-term care. I really don’t think that there’s another firm out there that can help families best position themselves to deal with long-term care, whether they’re needing long-term care help now maybe you have a loved one that needs home care or assisted living or a nursing home or if you’re just planning ahead and we much prefer working with families that plan ahead because there’s so many more options, it’s less of a crisis, it’s less stressful and we can get better results versus dealing with crisis planning where if you have a loved one in a nursing home right now there’s still things we can do to help protect those resources.
Just last week we had two families, a little bit different situation, one we had a husband and wife where the husband had to go into a nursing home, the wife had been taking care of him for the last couple years, he has advanced Alzheimer’s. But it got to the point that she couldn’t take care of him anymore and now he needs to go into a nursing home, he had a fall, broke his hip, is in the hospital in rehab, medicare’s covering it but it looks like he’s going to remain in a nursing home for the rest of his life.
And if you were to just private pay without doing any type of legal planning whatsoever she’s looking at paying $13,000 a month and so she is a listener to the show and she reached out to us and came in and we had a discussion and we’re going to put together a strategy so that all of their hard-earned assets, everything that, that family worked so hard for isn’t going to be lost just because of the bad luck of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and then needing long-term care. We’re going to put together a strategy, an asset protection strategy so that instead of paying that 12, $13,000 a month bill that’s going to completely impoverish her as the healthy spouse, she’s going to be able to have peace of mind to know that her husband’s going to get the care that he needs that he desperately needs, he’s going to get the best care possible. And then she’s not going to be completely impoverished having to pay for that care.
And it just brings me such joy, and it’s one of our passions to really be able to just see the relief wash across people’s faces, when we’re able to show them these long-term care planning strategies. And it’s just such a blessing, it’s something that our office, our whole team we have, even though we’ve been working virtually a little bit, so I’m not able to see my team’s faces every day. We have a team of nine employees, I like to call them team members, not employees.
But just whenever we’re able to put together one of these plans, it brings our whole team so much joy, it gives us purpose. And that’s really why we do what we do is we like to just help families, help them plan, protect and preserve what’s important to them. But yeah, I was saying that just even last week, we had two families reach out. One family was a husband and wife, the husband needed long-term care. The other situation, it was dealing with mom, she was a widow at this point, husband had passed away a number of years ago. Again, mom, she has dementia, not necessarily Alzheimer’s, and there’s a difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia. Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia but not all forms of Alzheimer’s are dementia. It’s kind of confusing.
But she has some dementia and she’s still living at home right now, but we’re looking at putting together a transition plan. And there’s some things we need to do to set the table. And unfortunately, we had a call scheduled to really put together this plan. But mom’s still living at home and we weren’t able to get ahold of her. But luckily daughter was able to drive over and check on mom and she was okay. But, again, we’re working with families no matter where they are along this elder care continuum.
And I saw the need for this so much that I actually wrote a book and I wrote the Caregivers Legal Guide to Planning for a Loved One With Chronic Illness. And the subtitle is Insider Strategies to Plan for Medicaid, Veterans Benefits and Long-term Care. And really what I did is I took that knowledge that we have, that specialized knowledge in this area of long-term care and I put it into a book form. So if you do want a copy of this, please just reach out to us, we have some extra copies that our office will mail them out to you. Give us a call at (844) 885-4200. Again, (844) 885-4200.
It’s really an insider’s guide on how to plan for long-term care, whether we’re planning ahead, maybe we’re planning ahead for you. What can we do to structure your affairs, structure your investments, your legal entity, your investments inside of that legal entity to protect against the devastating cost of long-term care in the future. Or maybe you’re listening to this and you know a family member that maybe needs care, maybe he’s recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
This guide is going to give you peace of mind to help you kind of pull back the curtains to understand how all of these different governmental programs work together, whether we’re talking about Medicaid or veteran’s benefits or hospice or the Michigan Choice Waiver Program, and then how they interact with taxes, and it’s a confusing area. Because not only do we have to understand this from a financial standpoint and a legal standpoint, we need to be cognizant, that’s the second big word I’ve used cognizant, I was able to get that one out.
We need to be cognizant of gift taxes and income tax and Medicaid rules which are different than veterans benefits rules, which are different than gifting rules that are different than… I was sitting with a family locally, and dad he’s been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and he sits on one of the planning committees for one of the townships in the area. And we’re talking about how to handle the real estate and we’re setting up an asset protection trust, we need to understand how even our trusts and how real estate rules work and how we can do this without uncapping property taxes. So I go back to this in the beginning, estate planning, it’s pretty easy, it’s avoiding probate, making sure your stuff goes where it’s supposed to go.
But when we’re talking about elder law, we have to have such a deep level of knowledge in all of these different financial areas and investments and legal and tax and we need to pull it all together to put together a unified holistic plan. And so our book the Caregivers Legal Guide to Planning for a Loved One With Chronic Illness really gives you a good introduction. In fact, I used to teach elder law to second and third year law students at Western Michigan Cooley Law School.
And really what I used is this book was the textbook that we worked out of because it did such a great job of laying things out in layman’s terms to make these complex areas understandable to organize them so if you’re at all concerned about long-term care, whether for yourself or for a loved one just give our office a call while we still have copies available, more than happy to send these out. You can also get on Amazon for about $15 but I’d rather save you some money, again that’s what we do with that today is we try to save you money, protect your resources.
So while we still have copies available to our office, more than happy to mail that out to you, all you have to do is give our office a call at (844) 885-4200 or visit us on the website at castlewealthlegal.com or you can just always email us of course at contactatcastlewealthgroup.com just make sure to say caregivers book in the subject line, make sure to include your name and address, phone number we’ll move that out and stay with us as we continue the conversation talking about long-term care.
Hi we’re Madison and Ryan Berry.
Our dad is Chris Berry from the Castle Wealth Group.
The Castle Wealth Group used to be the Elder Care Firm but dad wanted the company to be broader in its scope of services.
To not only protect and preserve assets but to help people grow their assets to prepare for retirement.
As a certified elder law attorney and fiduciary financial advisor our dad and his team at Castle Wealth Group can help you with lots of important things.
To tell you more, here’s your dad Chris Berry.
Thanks Maddy and Ryan. Here at the Castle Wealth Group we can help you put together an estate plan to avoid probate, work with you on a tax plan to keep more money for your family and less for Uncle Sam and protect you against the devastating cost of long-term care. Our team is here for your family, I invite you to learn more about the Castle Wealth Group at our next free workshop where you will learn the three steps to create a legal financial and tax plan for the second half of life. Call us today to register at (844) 885-4200.
The Castle Wealth Group formerly the Elder Care Firm.
Learn more at the castlewealthgroup.com today.
So I want to introduce you to a family and this was a family I met a number of years ago and I’m going to change their names to protect the innocence. But we’re going to talk about Bill and Mary. So Mary had contacted my office, came into my office and I remember vividly sitting down with her in our small conference room for initial visit, and when we meet with clients a lot of times it’s more of a visit than a meeting. We like to make it very comfortable for our clients.
And as we started talking I asked Mary what brought her in today and I could tell she was having a tough time getting it out and she started to tell me about her and her husband Bill and her family. They’ve been married for a number of years, they have two wonderful children, one of the children is in California, the other one is in New York, the one that’s in California is working tangentially with Star Wars which is kind of interesting as part of their employment
So good family, they worked very hard, her husband was a engineer who’s been retired for a number of years, she was a Detroit school teacher really just a nice family. But as we started digging in more about what really brought her in and she started crying because her husband Bill was eight years older than her and for the last couple of years she had been taking care of him because Bill had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and his Alzheimer’s had gotten to the point that she just could not take care of him anymore. Her children weren’t around to help out and it was just her and she was at her wit’s end and she just physically could not, and medically could not take care of him anymore.
And it was breaking her heart to know that she had to turn this over to someone else. And where Bill was medically, he needed nursing home care. And she had looked at some different nursing homes and found a great nursing home very close to where she lived. But the problem with that is that it would have been over $10,000 a month. And she wanted Bill in this nursing home because it was so close to her home, she could visit Bill every day. But she didn’t know how she was going to afford it. Because, again, they worked very hard, but they put their kids through school, they had covered all their kids expenses, and they had a house and they had some retirement money. And especially in her situation, she was young, she was only 62 and very healthy. She was very involved.
But she was concerned of, “Well, if I have to pay 10, $11,000 a month for Bill’s care, what’s going to happen to his care when we run out of money.” And then the second thing I brought up to her is, “Yeah, we need to take care of Bill but also Mary, we need to take care of you as well. What’s going to happen if you’re completely impoverished having to pay for bills care.” And so that’s where we started putting together a Medicaid crisis plan for her.
And so what we’re able to do is we were immediately able to get Bill qualified for Medicaid, even though they were over in assets. Now, there’s different governmental programs that are available. And one of those programs is what’s called Medicaid, now Medicaid can pay for nursing home care, so Medicaid can help pay for that eight to $12,000 a month nursing home bill. And there’s a big myth that if you’re on Medicaid, you’re in some rundown nursing home, that’s just not the case. Any nursing home that accepts Medicare also typically accepts Medicaid.
Now sometimes they play a little bit of a game to say, “We don’t have any Medicaid beds available,” but the magic thing happens if you private pay for a couple months, then you can enter the nursing home and then switch over and have Medicaid pay that base level of care. Because there’s federal guidelines that say they can’t discriminate based on source of payment. It’s like when you buy a plane ticket, let’s say you buy a plane ticket to California, maybe you paid $500 for it, but the person sitting right next to you, going to the same exact place, receiving the same service as you maybe based on what website they bought it on, or the timing, maybe they only paid $99, right?
So similar with nursing homes, you’re going to receive the same care as everyone else in the nursing home, but you might private pay versus someone else might be able to qualify for Medicaid. So what we’re able to do for Bill and Mary, is we were able to put together a Medicaid crisis plan where even though they were over in assets, and yes, Medicaid does have a asset test, but what we’re able to do is maneuver the assets around so that now she was able to protect everything they had.
So they didn’t have to sell their house, they didn’t have to liquidate all of their assets, just because Bill needed long-term care. And when I explained how we could do this, just seeing the relief on her face, just like what I talked about with clients I was talking to a week or so ago. It’s something that you could just see the relief, the relief to know that her husband was going to get the care that she needed, or he needed, plus the relief to know that she’s not going to be completely impoverished having to pay for that care.
And that’s something that just brings so much joy, it’s something that we’re very passionate about in our office. And that shows you what we can do in our office when it comes to Medicaid crisis planning. So if you do have a loved one in a nursing home right now, there’s things we can do even at the last minute even though Medicaid has this five-year lookback period to try to protect those resources.
And if you’re interested in learning more, please reach out to our office. We have some extra copies of our Caregivers Legal Guide on hands that we’re more than happy to mail out to you for free. Just give our office a call at (844) 885-4200, again 844-885-4200. And it was good that she came into our office as a certified elder law attorney investment advisor versus going to just an estate planning attorney. Too often I have families come to me to say, “Wish we we sat down with your Chris three years ago, we sat down with an attorney and all they did was draw up a will or a trust for us. We didn’t even know this stuff was available.”
And that’s really the difference between estate planning and elder law when you’re looking at putting together a legal entity. Estate planning attorneys and there’s a lot of them out there not to say they don’t do a good job but typically they’re focused just on what happens when you die. Sure they might put together a power of attorney or something like that but they’re just really more focused on what happens when you die, where’s your stuff going to go? Who’s it going to go to? How do we avoid probate?
And that stuff’s important and we do that but as an elder law attorney we’re not only concerned about that but we’re also concerned about what happens if you don’t pass away, what happens if you continue to age and you face all the issues that go along with aging and it’s sad when I sit down with a family and if they had sat down with us three four or five years ago versus that estate planning attorney they’re recommended to by a friend or they found online or even another attorney referred them to, seeing the frustration of why didn’t my attorney tell me about this or why didn’t anyone tell me about this.
This is the difference between working with a certified elder law attorney versus just an estate planning attorney and again there’s only a handful of CELAs out there certified elder law attorneys. And to become a certified elder law attorney, a CELA, you need to be peer reviewed so their attorneys need to single you out for your contributions to the area. Second of all you need to be or you need to sit down and take an exam and it’s a six-hour exam and the last statistic I heard is I think only 15, 20% of the attorneys have actually passed it.
And this has been around since 1993 so it’s not like it’s anything new but it’s such a difficult rigorous process that’s why there’s so few certified elder law attorneys out there. And even when I get, people ask me for a referral to someone out of state or an area that I can’t service. I go, I look for other certified law attorneys because you know they’re going to be the cream of the crop, they’re going to have certain strategies that not every attorney has.
It’s like the difference between a general practitioner doctor versus… I actually just got a hip replacement recently, I wouldn’t want my general practitioner doctor to do my hip replacement surgery right? I had a total hip replacement. It’s all about finding the right person to help you with your goals and if you’re concerned with long-term care, you don’t want to go to an estate planning attorney, you don’t want to go to your average financial advisor, you want to go to a certified elder law attorney who understands the legal entities that can be created, the legal rules, understands the different investment tools or insurance tools that can be leveraged for long-term care.
It’s really a unique area and I’ve taught this to second and third year law students, I’ve taught this to other attorneys for continued education through the Institute of Continued Legal Education they’ve actually used our office as a model office to teach other attorneys. I’ve taught CPAs, how this works, how the different types of trusts work from a tax perspective. I’ve taught other financial advisors for continued education, I’ve taught at the financial planning association so understand that this is a deep level knowledge that unfortunately not everyone knows and I don’t know why they don’t focus on this.
For me very early in my practice I was focused more on making sure your money lasts as long as you do versus figuring out how we can avoid probate and get it to who it’s supposed to at the end of the day. Like elder law is all about protecting your wealth, helping you protect, invest your wealth, build legal structures to protect it from long-term care costs and things like that and that’s why we wrote the book.
So I’ve wrote the book on this topic so if you want us to mail you a copy of the book Caregiver’s Legal Guide Planning for a Loved One with Chronic Illness that talks about Insider Strategies to Plan for Medicaid, Veteran’s Benefits and Long-term Care, just give our office a call at (844) 885-4200 and make sure if you leave a message leave us your name clearly, your address clearly and a phone number if we need some follow-up information and we’ll mail that out at no cost to you as long as we still have copies available. We have a box of these few copies laying around the office, so if you do want a copy just give our office a call (844) 885-4200 or you can go to our website castlewealthlegal.com just click over to the contact area, put in all that information and just put it in that you’re requesting a copy of the book and we’ll mail that out to you.
Understand the difference between estate planning and elder law. And that brings us to the tools that we use from a legal perspective and understand that not all lawyers are created equal, not all financial advisors are created equal likewise not all documents are created equal and so there’s some key legal documents when we’re putting together a plan, a plan for planning for estate or planning for long-term care, we call it a legacy plan when we’re putting together your legacy plan, there’s some key legal documents that we need to put in place.
The first one and probably the most important and the one that estate planning attorneys pay the least amount of time or pay attention to is what’s called the financial power of attorney so the financial power of attorney document is the document that appoints someone to make financial decisions. If you’re listening to this and your financial power of attorney is older than 2012 or is created by someone other than a certified elder law attorney, I’d recommend that you have us review it, very quick for us to review it.
A lot of times when I review that financial power of attorney it needs to be updated for either changes in law so if it’s older than 2012 or because it doesn’t have enough meat or teeth to it especially if it’s drafted by an estate planning attorney because they’re more concerned about what happens when you die versus what happens if you get a knock in your head and someone needs to make decisions for you. So a lot of the financial powers of attorney we review are like 3, 4, 5, 6 pages. We call that a blank check, it’s not specific enough. What we found in our 15 years of doing this and especially focusing on this question of long-term care and what happens if loved one’s diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
We need to make sure that financial power of attorney has a lot of teeth, that it’s effective, that it’s strong, that it gives you all the powers that you need to utilize if something were to happen to a loved one or if something were to happen to you to make sure that the person you’ve appointed has the authority to get everything done that they’re going to need to do. And so our power of attorney in our office, it’s about 20 pages not because we like killing trees or are paid by the word, it’s just that we found that we need to make sure that we have all this very specific language in the documents.
Because otherwise if you were to try to take this document to a bank or a financial institution, try to get something done, they’re going to run it through their legal department and they’re going to say, “No you’re not able to do what you need to do.” And so then you might be forced to go get a guardianship or conservatorship to maybe go to court to get those things done but if you have a well drafted financial power of attorney that really sets the table to be able to do all the other things where if you do have a loved one that’s diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s now you can take action based on that document.
And that’s one of the documents that most often needs to be reviewed because A, it’s older than 2012 or B, is drafted by an estate planning attorney that really wasn’t paying attention to the elder care or long-term care questions that should be part of any type of legal structure that you create. And that brings us to the medical power of attorney, so first we need to have that financial power of attorney, second we need to have that medical power of attorney, that’s the document that gives instructions to be able to make medical decisions. If you’re unable to include in that would be end of life decision making, you might have heard of Terri Schiavo a woman down in Florida, she was in a vegetative state for a number of years.
And her husband wanted to remove her from life support, her family wanted her to remain on life support, became a big core battle that lasted eight years, all of that could have been avoided had she had that medical power of attorney in place. And so stick with me as we continue this conversation talking about long-term care, talking about the key legal documents you need as part of your estate and long-term care plan.
Hi, Madison and Ryan Berry here from the Castle Wealth Group formerly the Elder Care Firm.
Our dad is Chris Berry.
He’s an attorney and fiduciary financial advisor which means he helps families plan, protect and preserve their assets.
The entire team at the Castle Wealth Group can help you with lots of important things. To tell you more, here’s our dad Chris Berry.
Thanks Maddy and Ryan. Here at the Castle Wealth Group we can help you put together an estate plan to avoid probate, work with you on a tax plan to keep more money for your family and less for Uncle Sam and protect you against the devastating cost of long-term care. Our team is here for your family, I invite you to learn more about the Castle Wealth Group at our next free workshop where you will learn the three steps to create a legal financial and tax plan for the second half of life. Call us today to register at (844) 885-4200, (844) 885-4200 or visit us at castlewealthgroup.com
The Castle Wealth Group formerly the Elder Care Firm.
Learn more at the castlewealthgroup.com today.
So we’re talking about the key legal documents you need when you have an estate and elder care plan, the first one being a financial power of attorney that sets the table to me. Be able to make financial decisions then the medical power of attorney. Third, and again, this is something that differentiates estate planning from elder law and elder care is what’s called a personal care plan. So it’s a document that is created to give instructions not about end of life decision making, but of long-term care decision making, like do you want to be kept at home as long as possible. Certain foods you like or don’t like? Certain religion you practice? Do you want to visit family? Do you want to go outside? Certain hobbies you want.
And it sounds silly, but understand you don’t go from healthy to passing away, you go through this aging process. So if we can put together a document that gives guidance to caregivers, to children, to your powers of attorney, to caregivers that are coming into the home, maybe you want tea at two o’clock or you want to read the Bible or you want to read certain magazines or watch certain television programs? Well, that’s something that we capture, because we think that’s important.
And again, when you sit down with your estate planning attorney that just can talk about what happens when you die, where’s your stuff going to go? You sit down with your average financial advisor, they’re like, “All right, we’ll talk investments.” But what we want to do is really map out what is that second half of life. So from the time that you retire, we call this the second half of life because people are living longer than ever.
And so one of the things we see is this need for long-term care and we want to have some guidance. And that’s where that personal care plan comes into play. And then next… So those are what we call disability documents, the financial power of attorney, the medical power of attorney, the personal care plan. And then we need to have the other legal documents, the trust and the will and make sure the trust is funded properly. And there’s different types of trusts and one of the trusts we can do is what’s called a Castle Trust, which is a form of asset protection trust, where we move assets into the trust. And once we’ve made it five years, everything could be protected from that nursing home or Medicaid spend down.
So asset protection trusts aren’t going to be something that typically your estate planning attorney is going to have a lot of knowledge of, or if you do bring it up, they’re probably going to say, “You don’t need that, you don’t have enough money,” because they’re so focused on the estate tax exemption, which is $11 million, but they don’t understand that we can set up asset protection trusts to protect your hard earned assets from the devastating cost of long-term care and nursing home care.
Their experience with trusts, or asset protection trusts might be protecting against estate taxes, which are $11 million right now. But the types of trusts that we’re doing while we can do those, a lot of times we’re trying to help not protect against estate taxes, but protect against the devastating cost of nursing home or long-term care with our trusts. So that’s again, something that makes what we do a little bit different and why we’re very well positioned. If you have any concerns whatsoever about long-term care, give our office a call and we’ll send you a free copy of the book that I wrote on this, the Caregivers Legal Guide to Planning for a Loved One With Chronic Illness, Insider Strategies to Plan for Medicaid, Veterans Benefits and Long-term Care, just give us a call at (844) 885-4200. Again, (844) 885-4200. And if we have some copies left, we’ll make sure to send you a copy, just make sure to leave clearly your name, address and phone number.
And if you could repeat that phone number twice, if you do leave a message just so that if we do need to reach out to clarify something that was unclear on the message, we can certainly do that. And as long as we have copies left in our office, we’ll make sure to mail a copy out to you. And one of things we cover in the book is what I call the six ways to pay for long-term care, and this is something I’ve been talking about since 2005. It’s something that I cover when we’re giving continued education to social workers. And when I taught my elder law class to second and third year law students, when I give continuing education, CE credits to financial advisors and CPAs and attorneys locally.
I’ve even been part of national panels, national continuing education panels, talking about the types of trusts that we use, and some of the things that I’ve talked about today on the radio program, as well as what’s in our book, where attorneys would have to pay $300 to attend this continuing education webinar that we did nationally. All that knowledge is in this book that I want to share with you. So just give our office a call and we’ll get a copy out to you.
But now what I want to do is talk about the six ways to pay for long-term care. And the first way is we can private pay, so we just pay out of our own funds and this is really what you’re left with if you don’t work with a firm like ours, where you don’t get these insider strategies or you don’t request a copy of that book.
Second way is you can have the kids pay, now a lot of times they don’t pay financially but they pay in terms of their time. Third we could have long-term care insurance and I’m not a big fan of traditional long-term care insurance but now there’s some new strategies where if you haven’t had a conversation about different types of hybrid or asset based long-term care you’re really missing the boat.
This is something that we’ve been utilizing really for the last I’d say 10 years where we could carve out a chunk of money that now could be say $500,000 worth of long-term care benefits and then if you don’t use it’s $500,000 a tax free death benefit. So it’s a strategy that appeals to a lot of people versus those pure traditional long-term care insurance policies where you pay on it for a number of years and then if you never use it, you end up losing all that money.
So those are some new strategies and then also there’s some ways where let’s say we set up an investment to give you guaranteed income for your life but if you were to need home care or assisted living then that income could even double. So there’s some interesting long-term care strategies that are long-term care insurance strategies that are available these days versus that old traditional long-term care insurance which I’m not a big fan of.
So that’s long term care insurance, fourth we have Medicare. Now keep in mind medicare does not pay for long-term care, what it pays for is short term rehab. So if you’re to fall, break your hip, go to the hospital, medicare will cover one to 20 days with zero out of pocket, 21 to 100 you’re going to have a copay of maybe $170 per day unless you have supplemental insurance and then if you do have supplemental insurance it will pick it up, up until day 100 as long as you’re continuing to rehab. So that’s medicare and that’s something that our office can help you with is choosing the right medicare plan.
Fifth is the veterans benefit, so if we do have a veteran or surviving spouse who does need long-term care, there are certain strategies where we can bring an extra 1000 to $2,000 a month tax free potentially to help pay for that long-term care. There are certain requirements to qualify for this VA benefit but if there is a veteran out there or you know of a veteran who may need long-term care in the future, make sure to request a copy of our book, we have a whole chapter talking about the ins and outs of that VA benefit and how to qualify. Just give our office a call at (844) 885-4200 or visit us on the web at castlewealthlegal.com. And as long as we still have copies available in our office we’ll go ahead and mail you a copy of our book on long-term care that has a chapter on veterans benefits.
And then the last way to pay for long-term care is Medicaid, now medicaid’s not really going to pay for home care, not going to pay for assisted living but it will help pay for nursing home care. And we have different medicaid planning strategies, so keep in mind medicaid has an asset test where a single individual can only have $2,000 worth of countable assets, countable assets are everything other than a home, small cash value of life insurance, personal belongings, prepaid funeral and an automobile. Did I say that one? Let me try that again. Personal residence, prepaid funeral, small cash value of life insurance, personal items and an automobile. Everything else is a countable asset.
And they’re only going to allow you to keep $2,000 worth of countable assets, if you’re a married couple and one spouse on the nursing home, one spouse living in the community, they’re going to make that sick spouse spent down to $2,000 and then the healthy spouse needs to cut their assets in half at most, that healthy spouse can have $120,000. Anything over that they’re going to force you to spend that money down. So that’s the do nothing plan, now what we can do as certified elder law attorneys and advisors who focus on this area is we can put together planning strategies.
And really they fall into two categories, one would be planning ahead. So let’s say you’re concerned about long-term care in the future, maybe you’re listening to this, you’re healthy or just recently retired, maybe even working with someone, you sat down with an advisor and attorney but you’re just a little bit concerned about the long-term care piece. You feel like that part hasn’t necessarily been addressed, well then this is where we can come in and help you.
So we can help you develop a long-term care planning strategy and it’s not just long-term care insurance though there are some again not pure traditional long-term care insurance but there’s some outside the box strategies as it relates to building and leverage or leveraging assets for long-term care where we can turn 200,000 into $500,000 of long-term care benefits, or if you were to pass away a $500,000 death benefit, potentially.
But also we can put together legal strategies as well, and trust me, you talk to your average estate planning attorney or that attorney that does a will and trust on Monday and a divorce on Tuesday and some criminal law on Thursday, they’re not going to have these strategies at their disposal, you’re going to have to work with someone who’s a certified elder law attorney. But one of the things we can do is put together a castle trust, a castle trust, which is a form of asset protection trust.
And by setting up the trust, and then moving these assets into the trust, you remain in control. So you’re the trustee, you pay taxes the same way you normally do, you don’t have to give up control, you don’t have to give up access, you can still invest the assets however you want, whether it’s Google stock, or Amazon stock, or mutual funds, or bonds, or real estate or business interests, all of that can be done inside of the castle trust.
But by moving the assets into the trust, it starts a five-year clock where if we can make it five years before we need a nursing home, then everything inside of that trust will be protected from that nursing home or Medicaid spend down. So the money or assets that are in that trust are basically off the books as it relates to Medicaid. So if all of a sudden you have a stroke, you need long-term care. Now everything inside of that trust is protected from that devastating nursing home or Medicaid spend down.
So now you can have Medicaid pay that base level of care and then now you have a pot of resources to pay for additional services to improve your quality of life or if you’re a married couple, to ensure that if one spouse needs long-term care, that healthy spouse isn’t completely impoverished. And so that’s a strong planning… And also if you have kids, and you want to make sure that your money goes to your kids versus going to a nursing home or to long-term care costs. This is also another strategy that may make sense.
So you might have a revocable living trust now that avoids probate and controls the distribution upon death. But you might want to look at upgrading to a castle trust that avoids probate, protects the kids, but most importantly protects you from that devastating nursing home care. So that’s one planning ahead strategy. Now also, you might have a loved one that’s in a nursing home now or might be going into nursing home shortly. This is where our Medicaid crisis planning strategies can come into play. Where if you have a loved one in a nursing home now, we might be able to protect anywhere from 50 to 100% of the assets, so that you don’t have to engage in that nursing home or Medicaid spend on where you spend down $12,000 a month until you run out of money.
Instead, there’s things that we can get into or strategies similar to what I have already shared today, where we can protect a majority if not all of those assets, getting those to a healthy spouse or protecting those for a widow. And we talk about some of these strategies in our caregivers book, where we talk about insider strategies to plan for Medicaid. Plan for veteran’s benefits, plan for long-term care, to give you peace of mind, to give you what we call the three C’s, confidence, clarity and comfort. So that if you’re planning ahead for long-term care, you know that you’ve done everything you can to put your family in the best position possible.
Or if you have a loved one in the needs care now to make sure they get the best care possible, and then ensure that they have the resources available in the future to make sure that their care and their money lasts at least as long as they do. And so if you’d like a copy of our Caregivers Legal Guide that goes over all of these different strategies that I’ve talked about, to give you resources for, if you have a loved one who’s suffering from chronic illness or disease like Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, Huntington’s disease or just the frailties of aging, this will be a good guide to give to the people who are planning for them. Or if you want to think about planning for yourself, planning ahead, where again, the earlier we start thinking about this, the more options you’re going to have available to you.
This book will give you some guide, kind of create a roadmap for the long-term care journey, the elder care continuum of needing maybe home care or assisted living or assisted living with memory care or nursing home care. Our book that I wrote is specifically to help you navigate that long-term care journey, to give you insider strategies from an advisor and certified elder law attorney that has helped countless families. I was just thinking the other day that typically we can help protect hundreds of 1000s of dollars for our families and I was trying to in my head think of how much money we’ve protected over the years and we’ve easily cleared millions of dollars that we’ve protected for families, protected these assets from long-term care costs alone, not counting the millions we’ve saved in taxes for families, avoiding probate, avoiding estate taxes. Really, that’s the focus of our firm is we’re helping good families plan, protect and preserve what’s important to them.
And if you’ve worked hard to accumulate this wealth, and you’re sitting around and wondering, “What do I do to protect it and to preserve it,” that’s where we come in and just mention this radio show, we’ll send you a free copy of that book. And if you do want to sit down and see how this information applies to your situation, give our office a call at (844) 885-4200. Again, 844-885-4200. Typically, what we do is we start with a short phone call, figure out kind of where you’re at, where you want to go and figure out if we can help you from there.
And then we’re working with clients virtually over Zoom, we’re working with clients face to face at one of our different locations. So feel free to reach out if any of the information I shared resonates with you today. Even if you just want a second opinion. Maybe you have the will, you have a trust, maybe you have a financial plan, but you’re concerned about, “Well, I’m not sure if it’s really taking into account long-term care.” There’s a lot of value in that second opinion from an expert. So this has been Chris Berry with Castle Wealth. Make it a great week, take care.
Learn more about Chris Berry and how he can help your family by visiting online at thechrisberryshow.com, that’s thechrisberryshow.com. You can also call Chris Berry at (810) 355-2584, that’s (810) 355-2584. This program content reflects the opinions of Chris Berry and his guests, not Castle Wealth Group or Advisors Excel and is subject to change at any time without notice, content provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be used or construed as investment or legal advice or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of any security or to follow any legal or tax strategy.
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