Planning for Elder Care

By: Layne Blasingim, CPA

What is it?

When planning for elder care you must focus on the quality of life the older individual wants to have. Acute and long-term care, surrogate decision-making plans in the event of incapacity, housing and preserving the assets of a loved one are all items that must be planned for.

Preserving an individual’s autonomy is the main goal of elder care, but it also has overlap with estate planning. An individual may want to preserve assets to leave to family members once they pass away or have other wishes for what to do with their assets. These wishes should be made part of the elder care and estate plan. Planning for elder care should be considered sooner rather than later in order to carry out these wishes.

Why the Need?

The short answer is people are living longer and farther away from family than ever before. With people living longer they may need to adjust their 401(k) and retirement plans to fund their lives. Many times now families are spread across the country and this has caused the level of family support to drop.

The cost of assisted living or long-term care has also exponentially risen. These increased costs may deplete the life savings of an individual without a well thought out plan. There are government assistance programs but many people may not be eligible and applications can be complex. This is why it is important to think of all sources of income; social security, personal savings, pensions, 401(k)’s, and other valuable assets when designing the elder care and estate plan.

A fiduciary can be appointed to act on behalf of their client, but special care should be taken in order to ensure that all plans are followed and that the fiduciary does not conflict with other members of the family.

Suttle & Stalnaker, PLLC is ready to help. If you would like more information on how this applies to you, contact  Elaine Dougherty, CPA in our Morgantown office at 304-554-3371.  You may also email Elaine at