By, Jody Hudspeth, Paralegal for The Law Offices of Carol Bertsch, PC
One of the many hats I wear as a paralegal is answering phone calls and emails from concerned loved ones and caregivers. This column, “The Elder Law Askit Basket”, features some of the scenarios we hear on a frequent basis. If you have a question you’d like to see answered here, please email me at: email@example.com.
My mom was just diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. What should we do to plan ahead? What can I do to help her?
First, let me tell you that I’m sorry to hear about your mom’s diagnosis. You are wise to start seeking help now.
If your mom still has mental capacity, she should get a Will and Powers of Attorney in place immediately. You may also want to talk to your mom about putting her bills on auto-pay and about having someone she trusts become a convenience signer on her accounts to help keep her finances running smoothly.
One thing we know about Alzheimer’s is that it progresses. Now is a good time to start thinking about Medicaid if you think your mom may need a nursing home at some point. I recommend you come in for a long-term care consultation with Carol so she can look at your mom’s assets and strategize the best way to protect them. Sometimes gifting or transfers can be done in a Medicaid-compliant way, but you should consult an elder law attorney on how to do this.
Is your mom married? I ask this because a long-term care consultation can be especially beneficial when one spouse is going to a nursing home and the other isn’t. Carol can explain how to spend or invest on Medicaid-acceptable expenditures that benefit the spouse who’s staying home.