A Q & A with Estate Planning Attorney Kenneth W. Kossoff
Issues surrounding health care needs often come to the forefront as we age, and many people are not prepared to make informed decisions regarding assisted living, finances and chronic care for ourselves or loved ones. Creating a Life Care Plan provides numerous benefits and peace of mind for families, as explained by Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Law Specialist Kenneth W. Kossoff of Panitz & Kossoff, LLP.
“Many people aren’t familiar with issues involving an aging spouse or parent until those issues are thrust upon them,” says Kossoff. “Life Care Planning addresses the often unmet needs of the elderly and others with physical or cognitive limitations. By thinking about and planning for aging issues in advance, a tremendous amount of stress can be avoided, and people are better able to manage the stress that is inherent in any such situation,” says Kossoff, who shares his expertise gained from his 30+ year legal career. “Even for families of significant wealth, the stress involved in a loved one’s decline is overwhelming. Paying the costs of care may not be an issue, but every other care-related issue is no less difficult.”
Q. What is a Life Care Plan?
A. Think of a Life Care Plan as a “road map” to maintaining as high a quality of life as one can based on his/her physical or mental challenges and to ensuring the caregiver spouse or child does not end up dead first due to the stress of the situation. Incorporating elements of estate planning and elder law, as well as care assessment and care coordination services, a Life Care Plan connects clients’ needs and concerns about current or future long-term care with a law firm’s expertise and a social worker or nurse’s experience with aging and caregiving issues.
Q. What are the benefits of a Life Care Plan?
A. Creating a Life Care Plan can maximize the quality of life and independence of elders while preserving assets for and/or from the high cost of care. Such plans help elders lead lives as independently as possible, in safety, and with their health care needs met. Most clients wish to avoid nursing homes at all costs, and if that is at all possible given their financial and medical circumstances, then “anti-nursing home planning” is the focus.
Q. What is the law firm’s role in creating a Life Care Plan?
A. Our firm provides assistance with the legal, financial and care-related challenges elders face. Our in-house Elder Care Coordinator has a Master of Social Work degree and experience in the health care field and supports families whose elderly loved ones are at home, in assisted living, board and care homes or skilled nursing facilities. She coordinates needed care and available community services, serves as the elder’s advocate, and involves the firm’s attorneys when their advocacy is needed. She lightens the load for family caregivers and helps improve the elder’s quality of life.
“With a background in hospice, families often said to me that they wished I had been around for the last five years of their loved one’s life, and not just the last few weeks or months. Working at a Life Care Planning law firm allows me to get involved early on for those families who think ahead,” says Katie Wiltfong, the firm’s Elder Care Coordinator.
Q. What makes Panitz & Kossoff’s services unique?
A. We are committed to helping clients negotiate the maze of the health and long-term care systems. Our team designs a Life Care Plan tailored to each client’s needs, financial resources and personal preferences. In every case, we help our clients live the life they desire for as long as possible. We are your resource of experienced, supportive, knowledgeable and objective advisors.
To learn more, contact Kenneth W. Kossoff at 818.865.0766 or visit PKEstateLaw.com. Panitz & Kossoff, LLP, is located at 5743 Corsa Avenue, Suite 208, in Westlake Village.