Smaller Print Larger Print
800-336-4529 618-985-4529
As you or your loved one ages, questions begin to arise about the future. This section of our Elder Law and Life Care Planning Attorney website helps our readers learn more about the issues that concern them most regarding Southern Illinois elder care, life care planning, Alzheimer's disease, memory loss, Medicaid planning, nursing home placement, assisted living options, caretaking, and elder care crisis.

Life Care Planning, Estate Protection, Disability,
VA & Medicaid Assistance Lawyers

Financial Health and The Elder Care Journey

Current economic conditions challenge those who are retired, as well as those who are already retired. All eventually will enter onto the pathway of the "Elder Care Journey", where they will need some form of assistance with their activities of daily living. Both now and for the coming years, all need to be well-informed about their financial well-being.

 

There is good news ... there are professionals who keep abreast of developments in the economy, changes in laws, and shifts in government programs for the elderly. Knowledgeable financial professionals and experienced elder law attorneys working together can assist clients to handle everything from help with retirement savings accounts, investment advice, estate planning, funding options such as reverse mortgages, and qualification for government programs such as "aid and attendance" benefits from the Veteran's Administration.

 

For those who are not yet retired, a little planning now will allow you to maintain your current lifestyle. On the other hand, a lack of planning may require you to live on an extremely tight budget. For those who already are retired, taking time - right now - to deal with financial problems instead of waiting for a crisis to happen is well advised.

 

A large number of persons who are retired feel that they have planned well for the future only to find that rising medical costs, damage done to investment portfolios (by the current economy), and many other factors have caused them to go into debt. Seniors are accumulating huge debts. Elderly persons who are in debt live with a constant dark cloud hanging over their heads. Most of these individuals are on fixed incomes and have no way of paying off credit cards and home equity loans. Their debts continue to mount and many are unable to cover debt payments out of their household budgets.

 

In order to meet ongoing payments, some seniors often forego purchasing medications and skimp on food budgets. They live like hermits - never going out and pinching every penny - in order to pay their obligations.

 

Most of these individuals worked hard their entire lives and managed their debt. They never anticipated the rising costs of prescriptions, expensive medical care, or depletion of savings by living too long. The good news is there is help for these individuals. The following are just a few examples of some relief options that could be available; there are other options besides these. (Much depends on the facts in individual cases).

Reverse mortgages: A Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), also known as a reverse mortgage, is a way of tapping into home equity without creating monthly payments, and without requiring the money to be paid back during the home owner's lifetime. Instead of making payments, the cash flow is reversed; the senior receives payments from the bank. Thus the title "reverse mortgage". For those seniors who are financially stressed and have few assets other than a home, a reverse mortgage can allow them to remain in the home by creating extra income.

Life settlements: A life settlement enables older individuals, businesses and other organizations to sell life insurance policies they currently own - but no longer want or need - often for an amount greater than the cash surrender value of the policy. In some cases, again depending on the facts, the life settlement value can be 2-3 times the cash surrender value of the life insurance policy. Even some term life insurance policies with a conversion option to permanent coverage can qualify for a life settlement.

Government Programs:
Some government programs, such as food stamps, energy (heating) assistance, community care program, pharmaceutical assistance, and other programs provide assistance for seniors. Other programs provide subsidized housing, help with medical expenses, and provide tax credits. For veterans there is free health care, inexpensive prescriptions, and disability income. The Egyptian Area Agency on Aging offers assistance or can refer you to the most appropriate program to address your individual needs. The agency can be reached in Carterville at 618-985-8311, or toll-free at 888-895-3306, or on the web at http://egyptianaaa.org.

 

For some seniors, living on a fixed income and dealing with debt as they traverse the "Elder Care Journey" can be an overwhelming burden. For seniors who may need assistance with staying at home, paying for care, or avoiding a loss of their dignity as well as their life-time savings, there are a number of strategies that may be available. An experienced elder law attorney, with the assistance of a knowledgeable financial professional, can help to safely guide the senior and their family along the path of the "Elder Care Journey."

 

Richard Habiger is an elder law attorney, who focuses on asset protection, Medicaid and VA benefits, Alzheimer's and life care planning - all in collaboration with a multi-disciplinary staff. You may contact him at 618-549-4529 or http://www.habigerelderlaw.com/contact.cfm.

 

###

 

This article is scheduled to be published in the June 2010 edition of the Southern Business Journal.


Contact Us

Name *

Phone *

Email *

Tell us more *


Physical Address
1808 Clark Street, Carterville, Illinois 62918
Phone: 618-985-4529
Toll Free: 800-336-4529
Get Directions

Mailing Address
1808 Clark Street
Carterville, Illinois 62918
Phone: (618) 985-4529
Get Directions

Offices

Physical Address
1808 Clark Street, Carterville, Illinois 62918
Phone: 618-985-4529
Toll Free: 800-336-4529

Mailing Address
1808 Clark Street
Carterville, Illinois 62918
Phone: (618) 985-4529