The old saying goes that nothing is certain except death and taxes. But that leaves out a vital aspect of living that cannot be ignored: Aging. “Organizing and prioritizing your estate becomes increasingly complex as you move from caring for a young family to caring for yourself,” says Rekha Rao, principal of the Rao Legal Group, LLC in Princeton.

Attorney Rao stresses, “Proper planning early is essential to preserve assets not only for heirs but for yourself. People are living much longer and stronger than ever. Beginning to plan while in your 60s prevents having to deal with affairs while in crisis mode. More importantly, a solid estate plan allows families to address long-term care issues early so that more assets are preserved in a tax efficient way.”

“Finding an experienced Elder Law advisor is critical. The regulations and laws are complex and solid planning requires an in-depth analysis of a family’s available resources, both private and public. A plan must assess how to finance long-term care costs.”

“Rao Legal Group, LLC strongly recommends pre-planning to get your financial affairs in order while you are still relatively healthy. This allows you to preserve as much as possible for your heirs. However, our group is well-equipped to handle crisis applications and immediately navigate the maze of Medicaid planning considerations and the application process, if necessary. In this way, you or your loved one can quickly qualify for any private or public benefits if long term care becomes imminent.”

Finally, planning is most critical before incapacity sets in. When someone is incapacitated, physically, mentally or both, the family is left in limbo. They must deal with cumbersome legal processes to get a guardian appointed so that the bare necessities of daily life can be managed.

“A properly drafted, comprehensive general Durable Power of Attorney is essential. You decide who is the most appropriate person to be your Agent or Attorney in Fact before you become incapacitated. Then, when the time comes, he or she can act immediately to keep the finances managed without interruption. Most importantly, he or she must be given broad authority to gift so that arrangements can be made that are critical to Medicaid planning.”

The Rao Legal Group, LLC never compromises on time or quality by using a one-size fits all approach for clients. “Every client is unique, so we make sure to leverage our wealth of experience to provide creative solutions that work best for your individual needs. Many people may hesitate because they perceive planning is too expensive. However, the value of protecting assets from being depleted so rapidly after being confronted with long term care needs far outweighs mere dollars and cents.”

Rao Legal Group, LLC, 14 Farber Road, Princeton. 609- 372-2855. 609-593-5129. estateelderplanning.com.

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