Is it Time for You to Have the Long-Term Care Planning Talk with Your Parents?

Is it Time for You to Have the Long-Term Care Planning Talk with Your Parents?

Anthony J. Enea

Anthony J. Enea

June 5, 2019 01:46 PM

Is it Time for You to Have the Long-Term Care Planning Talk with Your Parents?

By: Anthony J. Enea

I recently consulted with a 92 year-old who had never executed a Last Will and Testament and/or any other form of estate or long-term care planning. I asked her why she waited so long to see an attorney and she stated that “I’ve been very busy the last 91 years.”

While it is true that life often seems to pass by at lighting speed, I still believe that in 91 or so years she could have (and should have!) found an hour or so to consult with an attorney. When I looked across the table at the client’s daughter, she shrugged and said that she had been asking her to do it for at least 20 years.

For many, approaching a parent about whether or not they have done estate and or long-term planning can be an uncomfortable and intimidating task. As a practicing attorney for almost 35 years, I know full well that some parents never discuss their personal finances and planning with their children. It is something they feel is no one’s business. However, I also know that this can often be quite unfortunate for both the parent(s) and the child(ren).

The lack of knowledge about the parent’s finances often becomes problematic especially if a parent is taken ill, rendered incapacitated and/or unexpectedly passes away. Under said circumstances, the family is often hampered in its ability to gather the necessary financial information and documents to apply for Medicaid, and/or take the necessary steps to protect one’s assets from the cost of long-term care. Additionally, when the parent passes away, children are often left scampering to try and piece together information relevant to the decedent’s finances for the requisite estate and tax filings.

Clearly, if a child is unsure as to whether the parent has done any planning it is best for the child to raise the issue with the parent. The child can directly ask the parent whether or not he or she has done any long-term care planning and if not, recommend that they consult with an experienced elder law attorney. However, if this approach is not effective, the child(ren) may need to resort to a more creative approach.

Some of the tactics used by children that have helped their parents are as follows:

  • Taking steps to educate one’s parent(s) about the advantages of engaging in long term care planning. For example, providing them with articles about the cost of long-term care (nursing homes/ home care), the use of a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust to protect assets from said cost and Medicaid eligibility requirements. It is not unusual for a parent to be poorly informed about the devastating impact that long-term care costs can have on his or her finances if they are unable to become eligible for Medicaid. Articles are available on our website at
  • Inquire with your family and friends about the issues they have faced when a parent and/or grandparent has been taken ill or been diagnosed with dementia. This is especially relevant if they have a family member that needs home care and/or nursing home care. Share these stories with one’s parent. There is nothing better than real life stories by a member of one’s family or friends to motivate a parent into taking action.
  • Offer to pay for the parent(s) initial consultation with the elder law attorney. I have found that in some instances children who are willing to finance the cost of the consultation, and in some cases even pay for the planning can help a parent who is reluctant to spend for a plan is of significant assistance in helping the parent to act. This would of course require the consent of the parent.
  • If the parent(s) still resist any attempt to engage in long term care planning, such as creating and funding a Medicaid trust, gifting of assets and/or purchasing long term care insurance (if insurance is an available option); a step that could prove to be very helpful in the event of the parents incapacity is to have the parent execute a Durable General Power of Attorney with broad provisions that allow the agent to engage in Medicaid/long-term care planning for the parents.

Whether a client is 65 or 90 years of age, taking requisite steps to protect their life savings from cost of long-term care is better than not taking any steps to do so. It is always better to be late than to have never planned at all when it comes to long-term care and/or estate planning.

Anthony J. Enea, Esq. is the managing member of Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano, LLP with offices in White Plains and Somers, NY. Mr. Enea is chair of the New York State Bar Association’s Senior Lawyers Section. He was named Best Lawyers’ 2019 Trusts and Estates “Lawyer of the Year” in White Plains and Westchester County’s Leading Elder Care Attorney at the Above the Bar Awards.

Related Articles

Protecting Your Legacy With Estate Planning

by Tripp Wiles

You're careful with your finances; do you still need asset protection?

Protecting Your Legacy With Estate Planning

Is It Time for You to Have the Long-Term Care Planning Talk With Your Parents?

by Anthony J. Enea

How should you talk to your parents about long-term care options? Estate planning can make for a difficult conversation, but wills and trusts are necessary documents for anyone growing older.

Estate Planning for Parents Guide

The Benefits of Charitable Giving in New York Estate Planning

by Best Lawyers

In this article, Best Lawyers breaks down the advantages and disadvantages of factoring in charitable donations when estate planning in New York state.

Animated hand giving a gift with bow on top

What Is Probate Court: A Complete Guide

by Best Lawyers

This complete guide to probate court covers everything you need to know about the legal process of distributing a deceased person's assets.

Stacks of coins growing higher with trees standing on top

The New PPE

by Jennifer Stavros

How to plan your pandemic preparedness estate—all from the safety of home.

Planning Your Digital Estate Plan

Most Americans Lack a Power of Attorney for Assets

by George M. Riter

Only 25 percent of American households have estate planning documents in place. A Power of Attorney for Assets will secure your financial affairs should you be unable to do so yourself.

Power of Attorney for Assets Documents

Ellen G. Makofsky, 2018 "Lawyer of the Year" for Elder Law

by Nicole Ortiz

Ellen G. Makofsky of Makofsky and Associates was named 2018 "Lawyer of the Year" in Long Island for Elder Law.

Ellen G. Makofsky LOTY

Anthony J. Enea, 2018 "Lawyer of the Year" for Elder Law

by Nicole Ortiz

Anthony J. Enea of Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano, LLP was named 2018 "Lawyer of the Year" in White Plains for Elder Law.

Anthony J. Enea LOTY

Protect Your Pets: Westchester Elder Law Attorney Anthony Enea Explains How to Provide for Pets in an Estate Plan

by Anthony J. Enea

Along with pet ownership comes the responsibility of ensuring your companion animal's care and well-being - even if that extends beyond your lifetime.

Elder Law - Pets Estate Plan

Trending Articles

A Celebration of Excellence: The Best Lawyers in Canada 2024 Awards

by Best Lawyers

As we embark on the 18th edition of The Best Lawyers in Canada™, we are excited to highlight excellence and top legal talent across the country.

Abstract image of red and white Canada flag in triangles

The Long, Short, Thick and Thin of It

by Avrohom Gefen

“Appearance discrimination” based on employees’ height and weight is the latest hot-button issue in employment law. Here’s a guide to avoid discrimination.

Woman stands in front of mirror holding suit jacket

Announcing the 2023 The Best Lawyers in America Honorees

by Best Lawyers

Only the top 5.3% of all practicing lawyers in the U.S. were selected by their peers for inclusion in the 29th edition of The Best Lawyers in America®.

Gold strings and dots connecting to form US map

Trailblazing Titans of the Industry: Announcing the 4th Edition Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch® in America

by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers honor and celebrate these talented, innovative newer lawyers who are trailblazing their way to victories in courtrooms across the country.

Connected web above map of the U.S.

Pearls of Wisdom: Celebrating 30 Editions of Best Lawyers’ Rankings

by Best Lawyers

In celebration of our landmark 30th edition, Best Lawyers’ leadership explains how the world’s original and most trusted legal awards maintain their esteem, integrity and reputation for excellence among the top legal entities and their clients.

Best Lawyers logo for 30th edition release with gold glitter in background

Vanguards of Victory: Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in Canada 2024

by Best Lawyers

The third edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in Canada™ has been announced, and the lawyers showcased by these awards are rising to the challenge each day as advocates for clients all across the country.

Blue and black background with small squares connected by lines

Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for 2023

by Best Lawyers

The third edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America™ highlights the legal talent of lawyers who have been in practice less than 10 years.

Three arrows made of lines and dots on blue background


Thomson Rogers: Toronto Personal Injury Lawyers

by Thomson Rogers

Since establishment in 1935, Toronto-based firm Thomson Rogers has consistently delivered results for their clients struggling through complex litigation.

Top of a Staircase Featuring Two Large Black Doors with Bookshelves and Chairs on Each Side

Announcing the 2023 The Best Lawyers in Canada Honorees

by Best Lawyers

The Best Lawyers in Canada™ is entering its 17th edition for 2023. We highlight the elite lawyers awarded this year.

Red map of Canada with white lines and dots

The Best Lawyers in South Africa™ 2023

by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers proudly announces lawyers recognized in South Africa for 2023.

South African flag


How Long Does a Felony Stay On Your Record in California

by Peter Blair

A felony can remain on your record for life in California. Some felonies qualify for expungement. Learn how to remove a felony conviction from your record in California.

Hand setting bird free out of a guarded fence

What the Courts Say About Recording in the Classroom

by Christina Henagen Peer and Peter Zawadski

Students and parents are increasingly asking to use audio devices to record what's being said in the classroom. But is it legal? A recent ruling offer gives the answer to a question confusing parents and administrators alike.

Is It Legal for Students to Record Teachers?

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers® in the United States

by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers listed in the 28th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America® and in the 2nd Edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for 2022.

2022 Best Lawyers Listings for United States

The Upcycle Conundrum

by Karen Kreider Gaunt

Laudable or litigious? What you need to know about potential copyright and trademark infringement when repurposing products.

Repurposed Products and Copyright Infringemen

The Best Lawyers in Australia™ 2024 Launch

by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is excited to announce The Best Lawyers in Australia™ for 2023, including the top lawyers and law firms from Australia.

Australian Parliament beside water at sunset

Wage and Overtime Laws for Truck Drivers

by Greg Mansell

For truck drivers nationwide, underpayment and overtime violations are just the beginning of a long list of problems. Below we explore the wages you are entitled to but may not be receiving.

Truck Driver Wage and Overtime Laws in the US