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    Guide to Elder Care Planning

    By Jay Greene, Esq., CPA–

    In the April 20, 2023, issue of the San Francisco Bay Times, I provided a detailed primer on elder care planning. For this issue, I offer a summary of some of the most critical areas to consider. As a brief introduction, I’m an estate planning attorney and I focus on elder care planning in my practice. As we age, it’s important to start thinking about our future care needs and take steps to ensure that we are taken care of.

    That’s where elder care planning comes in—it’s a comprehensive process that covers all aspects of our lives and helps us plan for our future. In this article, I’ll be covering everything you need to know about elder care planning, including healthcare and financial considerations, legal documents, and family dynamics.

    Understanding Elder Care Planning

    Elder care planning is all about planning for our future care needs. It involves considering all aspects of our lives, including our healthcare, finances, and legal documents. It’s important to start planning early, even if you don’t anticipate needing care for many years. A client didn’t think she needed a plan until she fell ill unexpectedly and was unable to make decisions for herself. The lack of planning caused tremendous problems for her and her loved ones. It’s always better to be prepared, even if you never need to use the disability side of your plan.

    Healthcare Considerations

    When it comes to healthcare, there are many options to consider, including in-home care, assisted living, nursing homes, and more. It’s important to choose the right healthcare provider for your needs, and that can take time and research. I had a client who initially chose a nursing home for her mother because it was the closest to her home. After a few weeks, she realized that the nursing home wasn’t providing the level of care her mother needed, and she had to move her to a different facility. Taking the time to research your options and ask for recommendations can make all the difference in your quality of life. Using the expertise of placement agencies is paramount to making a well-informed decision.

    Financial Considerations

    Planning for long-term care can be expensive, but there are steps you can take to help mitigate those costs. One of my clients was concerned about the high cost of long-term care and didn’t want to rely solely on Medi-Cal to cover those expenses. We discussed the option of setting aside money specifically for long-term care expenses with their financial advisor, and she felt much more at ease knowing that she had a plan in place that her trusted advisor was going to help her manage. Other options to consider include long-term care insurance and life insurance with a long-term care rider. Estate planning considerations, such as trusts and gifting strategies, can also help you plan for your financial future and protect your assets from the expense of long-term care.

    Legal Documents

    Key legal documents in elder care planning include your trust, power of attorney, healthcare directive, and last will and testament. These documents can help ensure that your wishes are respected in the event that you become incapacitated or pass away. It’s important to ensure that these documents are up-to-date and legally valid. I had a client who thought that her documents were in order, but it turned out that they weren’t legally valid because they hadn’t been updated in years and did not meet the legal requirements for validity of the documents. It’s crucial to work with an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure that your documents are in order and that your wishes are protected.  We want to make sure that we accomplish our goals and not just feel better today by having sheets of paper.

    Family Dynamics

    Involving family members/chosen family in the planning process can be crucial for a successful elder care plan. It’s important to have open and honest conversations with your family members/chosen family about your wishes and expectations. This can help prevent conflicts and disagreements down the line and ensure that everyone is on the same page. It’s also important to plan for any special needs family members, such as those with disabilities, to ensure they receive the care they need.


    Elder care planning can be a daunting process, but it’s an essential part of planning for your future. By taking the time to consider your healthcare and financial options, legal documents, and family dynamics, you can help ensure that you and your loved ones are taken care of. Working with an experienced estate planning attorney can help guide you through the process and ensure that your plan meets your specific needs. Remember, it’s never too early to start. If you are looking for help with your own estate planning needs, or would like to discuss how we can help your loved ones with their plans, please feel free to contact us at or call us at 415-905-0215. We look forward to hearing from you!

    Statements In Compliance with California Rules of Professional Conduct: The materials in this article have been prepared by Attorney Jay Greene for educational purposes only and are not legal advice. This information does not create an attorney-client relationship. Individuals should consult with an estate planning and elder law attorney for up-to-date information for their individual plans.

    Jay Greene, Attorney, CPA, is the founder of Greene Estate, Probate, & Elder Law Firm based in San Francisco, and is focused on helping LGBT individuals, couples, and families plan for their future, protect their assets, and preserve their wealth. For more information and to schedule an assessment, visit:

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