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A book review in The Wall Street Journal of the 2009 memoir, Welcome to the Departure Lounge: Adventures in Mothering Mother, explores the challenges in caring for elderly parents. The author or the book, Meg Federico, is a journalist who chronicles her experiences with an ailing mother and stepfather in the later years of their lives.

New York State’s highest court has referred to long-term health care costs as ruinously expensive. Although the review points out that Ms. Federico’s parents were affluent, the costs and sometimes unforeseen expenses associated with their care were extraordinary: At one point, the annual budget for Addie and Walter’s care is $400,000. They receive care in their home, with their needs attended to by a team of personal aides.

Affluent families often operate under the misconception that a mother or father cannot qualify for Medicaid because of their substantial assets or income. This is simply untrue. With proper planning, parents can transfer their assets and obtain benefits that can provide for their needs during the remainder of their lives. This is the unique advantage what Elder Law has to offer seniors and their loved ones. Heirs can receive what is left when a parent is gone.

The WSJ article clearly portrays the family’s difficulties in confronting dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. Ms. Federico travels back and forth between her home in Canada and her parent’s house in New Jersey to assist with and coordinate their care. In a situation like this one, an Elder Law attorney can help you with presenting your case to Medicaid that both parents require home care aides.

The creation of one or more trusts may be an important part of the plan to protect your parents’ assets. With trusts, multiple objectives can be achieved, including Medicaid eligibility, protection of assets from future creditors, avoiding probate, reducing taxes, and continuous management.

You can learn more about Trusts in Strategy # 8 and # 9 in Lamson and Cutner’s free Special Report, 25 Strategies to Prevent Financial Ruin from Long Term Health Care Costs.

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