This is a question I often receive from clients. While the simple answer is often no, the timing of the planning affects the effectiveness of the planning, the cost of the planning, and how complicated the planning will be. As a general rule, the sooner that this planning is done, the better the results.
When planning is done early, usually 5 years or more before long term care is needed, the planning is less costly, allows for more options, and allows for the protection of more assets. Typically, however, most people wait until the need is immediate. This means that a spouse or parent or other relative is in need of care immediately. Either the individual is already in a nursing home or hospital or they will need the care within a few months or at most a year. This definitely limits the ability to protect assets and eliminates the ability to use certain tools for planning. The ability to do extended gifting or to manage and control asset usage and distribution is severely limited.
Too often, individuals will wait to plan until the assets have dwindled to very little and there are only a few months left before the assets are completely gone. Even then there is a limited ability to plan and there is a limited ability to protect assets. While it is not too late to plan at this point, the benefits of planning at this stage are less compared to the cost. It is still worth it but it requires faster action and there is less margin for error.
If you want to talk to someone about where you are in the process and see what planning is still available, please call our office at 419-872-7670 or go to our website at www.chamberlain-law.net and schedule a time to talk to one of our attorneys.