Categories: General Date: Jul 21, 2009 Title: Don’t Procrastinate; Organize Records Now
One of the first steps you should take in any type of Medicaid planning is to get organized.
The first organizational task in Medicaid planning is to locate your estate planning documents. In other words, do you know where you last placed these documents, and better yet, can you find them now? Common sense tells us that a Power of Attorney document is of little use if it can't be found. With that said, you should locate these documents now, read them to make sure they still reflect your wishes, and store them in a safe place.
With any Medicaid application, the government requires a laundry list of items. Thus, the second organizational task is to collect information relating to proof of identity and health insurance. That means gathering copies of photo identification, Social Security cards, Medicare cards, health insurance cards, birth certificates, etc. It is very tactful to go ahead and make copies of these documents as soon as possible so that you have copies readily available when needed.
The third organizational task is to gather information regarding your regular income. All sources of regular income will need to be properly verified. For instance, it's not enough to present a bank statement that shows a pension amount that is deposited each month. Rather, the government mandates that the gross income amount be detailed on letterhead from the entity dispersing the pension. Along those lines, a Social Security recipient will need to present the Social Security notice that details the recipient's monthly benefits for the year.
The fourth organizational task is to gather information relating to your assets. Statements detailing bank and investment accounts, life insurance, etc. are essential to proper planning. In addition, the retrieval of documentation verifying the beneficiary on each account is important. This task is also beneficial from the simple standpoint that you often don't realize all that you actually own until you complete this process.
Please organize now rather than later. This type of planning is much less stressful when done in advance. The crisis perpetuating a long-term care placement is often emotional enough-the last thing a family needs at such stressful time is to have a scavenger hunt for a Power of Attorney document.
Unfortunately, there is now a need to be wary of identity theft to the point that only persons of tremendous trust should have access to personal information. If you have questions regarding the information needed to begin planning for long-term care needs, please do not hesitate to contact a knowledgeable Elder Law attorney.
P.S. Don't forget to eat at Chili's on Fridays in July and tell the wait staff that you want proceeds from your bill to support the Lake Wales Senior Center.