Tuesday, December 1, 2015
We Need Help
Kim and I made an appointment with an attorney who specializes in elder law and people with special circumstances like mine. Susan understands all the ins and outs of obtaining services. She has experience helping clients restructure assets and income in such a way – a legal way – as to maximize potential benefits. One of first questions I asked Susan concerned ethics. I wanted to know how I could justify jumping through hoops to “beat the system?”
Susan asked if I had ever employed strategies to lower my income tax burden.
“Of course I have,” I answered.
This is no different than that. Also, the legislative bodies and government agencies that create and administer these laws understand people are taking steps to maximize their benefits and minimize exposure of their income and assets. We’re not exploiting loopholes. We’re playing by the rules, in the open – no apologies necessary.
I can live with that, I think.
Kim and I went over our finances with Susan: savings, investments, life insurance, other liquid and nonliquid assets, income, debt, etc.
We identified our concerns. Short-term, we need help in the home. Additionally, we want to be in a position where if I need long-term care, it doesn’t deplete our assets any more than absolutely necessary.
Susan went over the options. So many options. Long story short, there is no scenario where we qualify for financial assistance toward in-home help. Therefore, there is no scenario where I have to wrestle with ethics. This finding didn’t render the consultation a waste of time and money. We needed to know. Now we do. If we want these in-home services, we’re going to have to pay for them ourselves. Fair enough. We’ll start with a few hours a week to see how it goes.
If I end up in long-term care someday, Susan outlined steps we can take to minimize the impact on our overall financial well-being. I may start taking some of those steps now, just in case.
The idea of someone from outside coming into our home feels odd. The thought of having a stranger attend to my personal needs makes me uncomfortable. But my mother did it for almost 40 years; I grew up with helpers in the house. Once we get used to it, we’ll probably wonder why we waited so long.