Kaplin Stewart

Estate planning after a serious medical issue

At the heart of Pennsylvania families lies the desire to take care of loved ones. This is the primary focus of estate planning, which can be viewed as a means of ensuring that accumulated wealth is handed down to those who are left behind. In some cases, however, the focus of estate planning must shift, and assets must be allocated to the loved one who needs the most assistance.

An example lies in a family member who is involved in a serious accident. When an individual has been incapacitated, his or her ability to provide for the family is often impacted. At the same time, the injured loved one will require significant medical care, which can continue for the remainder of his or her life.

Families will adjust to their changed circumstances, and will find a new “normal” that will define their days. It is important, however, to turn attention to the long term needs of the injured loved one, and to look at how estate planning should be altered to provide for those needs. One thing to consider is whether the uninjured spouse should purchase increased life insurance coverage to protect against the risk that he or she might predecease the injured spouse.

Another thing to consider is whether a medical needs trust is a good option. By placing assets in a trust, families can ensure that a loved one will have the means to obtain quality health care assistance, while also qualifying for Medicaid if the need should arise. Each set of circumstances is unique, but an estate planning attorney can guide Pennsylvania families on the best available options.

Source: Forbes, “8 Reasons to Revise Your Estate Plan Today“, Mark Eghrari, Jan. 28, 2016