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A Long Term Care Mess (Part 1)

Most people don’t prepare well for the possibility of needing long term care. This story is no different but with the right steps, guidance and a lot of work this story shows what can be accomplished.

Mary called us after her dad died. She wasn’t calling because she needed help with the probate of his will. Mary wasn’t sure what to do about her stepmom, June. Dad and June had been living together in an assisted living facility when he died. Dad’s will left 1/4 of his estate to June and the rest to Mary and her 2 sisters.

Mary also told me that June had no power of attorney. When I asked about her health, Mary told me that June had advanced dementia and no longer recognized anyone or had an ability to communicate any longer. She added that while Dad was alive, he helped provide her care but now that he is gone the assisted living facility said June needed an aide to be able to stay there. Mary told me that there isn’t enough money to cover the cost for very long and she’ll need to apply for Medicaid. I anticipated that Medicaid would be needed within 6 months.

Mary’s story has a little bit of everything. It was clear that she needed to apply for guardianship. She also needed to apply for Medicaid. Finally, I told Mary that June is entitled to more than ¼ of her dad’s estate despite what the will says. That’s because Medicaid will insist that June must assert her right to 1/3 of his estate under something called the elective share.

I could hear the frustration in her voice. She wasn’t quite prepared for what I told her. I said I could help but we needed to get working quickly. Next week I’ll tell you what we did.