May 1, 2024

Your Advocacy Connection

We Solve Long Term Care Problems


By Jamie Long
Chief Patient Advocate
GolderCare Solutions


Too Many People Are Surprised By #2 and #3

Principle #1: The earlier you begin your planning, the better.

The earlier you begin planning, the readier you’re likely to be when the time comes.

Principle #1A:  Planning before the Look-Back Date generally allows you to save more money. Planning prior to your Look-Back Date allows you to set aside and preserve assets without triggering a Disqualification Period, also called a Medicaid Penalty.  Missing the deadline of your Look-Back Date means you’ll have to deal with potential Penalty Periods which will limit how much you can successfully set aside and keep for yourself.

Principle #1B: Planning before you’re incapacitated allows you to keep control of your life and your finances.  Once you hit incapacity – and it can strike at any time – you either can’t or aren’t allowed to make your own decisions or transact your own business.  At that point, without effective advance planning, you’re likely to lose control of your finances, and even your life, to the Probate Court. It’s expensive, time-consuming, and, most annoyingly, might be contrary to the values and decisions you would otherwise have made for yourself.  Worst of all, it may deprive you of some of the options you’d otherwise have to plan most effectively.

When it comes to advance planning, keep in mind: it always seems too much until it’s too little, and it always seems too early until it’s too late. Take it from thousands of people who’ve learned the hard way:  it’s better to avoid the too little, too late trap.

Principle #2: Just because you have a plan, doesn’t mean you’re ready.

A lot of people make the mistake of assuming that what they need is a “plan.” They tend to think of it as just a single transaction, as a one-and-done. They purchase a plan, put it on the shelf, assume they’re done, and forget about it.

But they’re not done. They need more than just a “plan.”  They need “planning.” Planning is an ongoing project, not a just a one-time transaction. It’s an ongoing series of transactions and decisions.  President Eisenhower put it best when he said, “Plans are Worthless, but Planning is Everything.”

New developments come up.  Old things change over time. Planning is an ongoing project to keep your plan effective and up-to-date.

Principle #3:  It’s never too late to plan.

Too often, we see people who mistakenly conclude that if they didn’t do their planning 5 years ago, they’re stuck. There’s nothing they can do now, they think. But that’s not so.  It’s not all-or-nothing.

Even if you missed the Look-Back Date, it doesn’t mean you’re completely out of luck.  You’ve still got options, albeit somewhat fewer options than you had before the Look-Back Date. Even though you may not be able to save as much money as if you’d successfully beat the Look-Back Date, we can still save you money. You’ve still got planning you need to do. You’ve still got planning you should do. Make sure
you do it.

GolderCare Solutions is an independent advocacy group for seniors, the disabled and those that care for them. GolderCare has offices in Moline and Bettendorf. You can reach GolderCare at (309) 764-2273 or learn more at

Filed Under: Finance, Health & Wellness, Retirement

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