Plan Ahead For Healthcare Decision Making.
You never know when a health event might make you unable, in the short or the long term, to make your own decisions about your care. Indiana gives Hoosiers ways to plan for this.
A Healthcare Advance Directive allows you to name someone to make healthcare decisions for you, if you become unable to make them for yourself. It also allows you to specify your wishes for end-of-life care. If you do not name a healthcare representative, Indiana law informs healthcare providers about who can make decision for you (link to 16-36-1-5). For more information about healthcare advance directives, visit the State of Indiana’s Advance Directives Resource Center.
Select A Power Of Attorney
Plan ahead for when you may become incapacitated or cannot handle your financial and affairs. Even if you are married, your spouse does not legally have the right to act for you.
Sign a power of attorney to designate the person of your choice to be able to manage your affairs. The power of attorney is flexible and can be written as broadly or as narrowly as you wish. It can be made effective immediately or can go into effect when you become incapacitated. If you do not have a power of attorney, the court may name a guardian for you.
Prepare An Estate Plan
An estate plan determines how your property will be distributed at your death. Your attorney can review the options, such as a will, trust, and transfer on death designations.
Once in place, review your estate plan every three to five years and after any major change. Review the beneficiary designations on your life insurance, retirement, bank, and other accounts periodically. Accounts with a beneficiary designation will pass to the named beneficiary, which could alter your estate plan.
Plan For The Costs Of Long-Term Care
Long-term care, such as home healthcare, nursing home care, and assisted living is expensive. Medicare and most health insurance policies have only limited coverage for these costs.
Investigate long-term care insurance. Policies can be expensive, but so is care. Some companies offer “Partnership Plans” that allow you to preserve assets while receiving Medicaid once the policy has been exhausted. Visit ww.in.gov/iltcp for more information.
Think Before You Gift
Because it’s so costly, many people who need long-term care exhaust their assets and need to apply for Medicaid. When applying for Medicaid, the state agency will ask about gifts you’ve made in the previous five years. While gifts of up to $14,000 a year per done are exempt from gift taxes, they are not exempt for Medicaid purposes.
Think carefully about making gifts until you are confident that you have enough assets and/or insurance to cover long-term care needs for the next five years.