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The Importance of Helping Clients Plan for Long-Term Care

An interview with elder law expert Bernie Krooks at the Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning.

Bernard A. Krooks, partner at Littman Krooks LLP in New York and chair of the Trusts & Estates Elder Care Committee, will be speaking at The 52nd Annual Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning on Wednesday on the topic of long-term care, “Will You Still Need Me, Will You Still Feed Me, When I’m Sixty-Four?” I managed to catch up with Bernie before his presentation.  

He noted that with the enhanced federal (and many states’) state tax exemption, more and more clients and advisors are focusing on how to receive and pay for appropriate LTC during the clients’ golden years. Even for clients of significant wealth, this is an important issue. Clients are also focusing on related issues, including who will make decisions on their behalf when they can no longer make those decisions for themselves and where do they want to receive care if they need it. 

Estate planning attorneys who don’t raise these issues with their clients are truly missing an opportunity to have a meaningful impact on their clients’ lives as they age. By planning in advance, clients can increase the likelihood that their wishes are carried out and that they receive the best possible care in the appropriate setting.

Bernie made a point of noting that he had to modify his presentation after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was passed, as it changed certain planning options available to elder law and special needs practitioners. For example, the Act made changes to the medical expense deduction and to the rules regarding ABLE accounts (that is, tax-advantaged savings accounts for individuals with disabilities and their families, created as a result of the passage of the Stephen Beck Jr., Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014). 

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