Parkinson’s Disease Planning

Have you or a loved one been diagnosed Parkinson’s disease?  Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and slowly progressive movement disorder, meaning that symptoms continue and worsen over a period of years.  Parkinson’s Disease Planning is where an experienced Elder Law Attorney helps you to develop a plan to deal with the legal issues, as well as the financial burdens associated with the diagnosis, so that you may ensure the high level of care for the diagnosed individual while assisting in protecting the quality of life and financial security any spouse and the entire family. Call the Law Office of James C. Siebert & Associates, P.C. /Elder Law & Estate Planning Attorneys of Illinois, P.C. at (847)253-7500 today to schedule an appointment with an experienced Elder Law Attorney to discuss your options.

Parkinson’s Disease Planning tends to be more complex since it is not uncommon for those with the disease to have very extended periods of incapacity.  This extended period of incapacity can be financially devastating to the family. An experienced Elder Law Attorney helps you to develop a plan to deal with the both the medical financial burdens associated with the diagnosis as well as assisting in protecting the quality of life and financial security any spouse and the entire family.  Contact the Law Office of James C. Siebert & Associates, P.C. /Elder Law & Estate Planning Attorneys of Illinois, P.C. to help you achieve your goals.

If you even suspect Parkinson’s, investigate planning immediately.  Nearly one million people in the US are living with Parkinson’s disease. The progression of Parkinson’s disease varies among different individuals. However, in it’s later stages, the physical impact of advanced Parkinson’s can include difficulty or inability to walk, need for assistance with activities of daily living as well as cognitive problems, including hallucinations and delusions.  Many people are unprepared to deal with the legal and financial consequences of a serious illness such as Parkinson’s disease. It is essential that the individual and the family have a Parkinson’s Disease Planning in place to address the issues which arise.

When you or someone you love is diagnosed with a progressive disease like Parkinson’s you face many serious considerations, and many of those, considerations need to be made quickly before the disease has a chance to progress.  Although tough questions often arise, advance planning can help people with Parkinson’s and their families clarify their wishes and make well-informed decisions about health care and financial arrangements. In addition to decisions about care, doctors, medical treatments and therapies, this is the time to make some legal decisions to plan for the future. The sooner you create a basic plan or advanced planning, the greater the likelihood that the patient will be able to express his or her full wishes, ensuring that the estate plan is exactly what he or she would want.

BASIC PLANNING

Legal planning is important for all people to consider, but for those who suspect or have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, it’s even more important, and the timing of the planning is vital as well. The basic Estate Planning documents needed include Durable Powers of Attorney Property, Durable Powers of Attorney Health, Last Will and Testament and a Revocable Living Trust.  These documents are essential to provide legal authority to the family or friends of the individual with Parkinson’s to make medical as well as financial decisions for the individual once they no longer have the capacity or ability to make those decisions themselves.  A Durable Power of Attorney give someone the right to make decisions in the place of someone else.  In Illinois there are two types, one which allows someone to make property or financial decisions and one which allows someone to make healthcare and residence decisions. Depending upon the circumstances, the Durable Power of Attorney can be effective immediately, or upon the happening of a certain event, most commonly a Doctor’s written finding that the individual is no longer capable of making their own decisions. Unlike a general power of attorney, a Durable Power of Attorney is still valid even after the individual who executed it no longer has capacity.

Revocable Living Trust is frequently recommended because it handles many of the actions which otherwise have to be taken under a Durable Power of Attorney or Last Will and Testament, but does it without the necessity of Court involvement, and makes assisting the person with Parkinson’s easier and more efficient both during life and after death. Unfortunately, many financial institutions do not honor Durable Powers of Attorney, even though the documents are legally sound, because of what the financial institutions perceive as potential liability on their part.  The use of a Revocable Living Trust avoids that issue entirely. In addition, after death a Revocable Living Trust handles the wrapping up of the decedent’s estate like a Last Will and Testament, however unlike a Last Will and Testament a Revocable Living Trust generally does not require opening of Probate or any other Court proceeding. Thus, a Revocable Living Trust makes the handling of your finances easier and less costly during your life and after your death.A Last Will and Testament is the document which is used after your death to determine who will be in charge of wrapping up your Estate, your Executor, including paying your bills, and what items will be distributed to what individuals. If the Last Will and Testament is your primary Estate planning device, the individual you named as Executor will need to bring a Court action known as Probate to get the legal authority to act under your Last Will and Testament.

These documents work together, with each offering the Parkinson’s person protection. Accordingly, the basic planning for an individual diagnosed with Parkinson’s should include all of these documents to offer the maximum protection for that individual and their family.

ADVANCED PLANNING

Parkinson’s is a progressive, unpredictable diseases which affect each patient differently, however each result in a continuing loss of function over time.  For Parkinson’s, planning must take into account increasing levels of care, including around-the-clock supervision for a period of many years.  It’s crucial to have a plan for dealing with the exorbitant costs of medical and health care services that will be required to manage the illness, as well as any spouse or family’s financial stability and resources during that period and after the patient’s death.

While you and your family may be lucky enough to be able to privately pay for the care of the Parkinson’s patient, it is important not to underestimate the total costs of that care.  Parkinson’s often result in extremely high medical and health care expenses, due partly to the drawn-out, degenerative nature of the disease, which can span many years, and because of the need for specialized, continual supervision. Accordingly planning for the money running out is a prudent strategy.  Fortunately, Parkinson’s Disease Planning by an experienced Elder Law Attorney can assist you and your family in reviewing a wide variety of extremely effective, and completely legal strategies for Asset Preservation which will allow you to protect against spousal impoverishment and preserving the money, investments, and property you’ve acquired over a lifetime, while still qualifying for Medicaid benefits to cover the cost of care. Call the Law Office of James C. Siebert & Associates, P.C. /Elder Law & Estate Planning Attorneys of Illinois, P.C. at (847)253-7500 today to schedule an appointment with an experienced Parkinson’s Disease Planning Attorney.

Depending upon the family’s net worth, income, existence of long term care insurance and when a family starts Parkinson’s Disease Planning will determine what advance planning strategy is appropriate to your family.  If your family owns a commercial property which generates good income but would result in substantial capital gains tax if sold, an Irrevocable Income Trust might be right for you.  You would still be entitled to all the income generated and the property could be kept until your death and thus avoid a substantial tax bill on the capital gains.   On the other hand, if one of your children has agreed to be your caregiver so you could remain in your home and not have to pay a commercial service, then a Child Caregiver Agreement might be an effective strategy to compensate that child and preserve some of your legacy.   If that child agrees to move into your home and provide you with care for a period of two years, a transfer of your home to that child upon your entry into a facility would be exempt if it were set up and documented correctly.  The conversion of assets into an income stream might be an effective method of protecting community spouse. Unfortunately, an advanced planning technique that might be the most effective for some might be obtaining a divorce so that the healthy spouse could live out the balance of their life in reasonable comfort instead of poverty.

No matter how advanced the Parkinson’s, it’s never too late to conduct Parkinson’s Disease Planning to accomplish something that’s financially worthwhile. While the options available are greater the earlier you do Parkinson’s Disease Planning, there are generally some things which can be done no matter how long you wait.  Even if most all the money is gone, consulting and retaining an experienced Parkinson’s Disease Planning Attorney can help make sure that you or your loved one is approved for Medicaid even if the family inadvertently made transfers which might result in denial or a penalty being imposed. Whether you want to protect your life savings, your spouse from being impoverished, the future of your disabled or special needs child, your caretaker child, precious family assets such as the family cabin, insuring that a portion of your life savings goes to your children or grandchildren, or want to have some funds available to pay for the small things when you are in long term care, then Parkinson’s Disease Planning is required.

Call the Law Office of James C. Siebert & Associates, P.C. /Elder Law & Estate Planning Attorneys of Illinois, P.C. at (847)253-7500 today to schedule an appointment with an experienced Parkinson’s Disease Planning Attorney.


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