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The Benefits of Using a Life Care Plan report in Estate Planning/Litigations

By Galit Liffshiz MA OT Reg.(Ont)
Certified Life Care Planner/Designated Capacity Assessor

Covering health care expenses for the elderly and individuals with a disability is a growing concern in Canada. This is especially relevant at present, given the increased desire of Canadians to age at home following the Covid-19 pandemic.

When it comes to home care, Canadians must figure out what level of care they require, the overall cost, and what role the family might play in providing these services.

Home care encompasses a wide range of services delivered to individuals of all ages in their home. Purposes of home care services include short-term care for recovery from surgery or acute illness, as well as longer-term care for those who are disabled or experiencing limitations because of a chronic condition, aging, or terminal illness.

Unlike hospital and physician services, home care is not an insured service under the Canada Health Act. Therefore, the provinces and territories are not required to offer it to qualify for federal transfers for health care. While Ontario provides home care services, these are very limited and there are unmet needs.

Home care services should be considered and included in estate planning and insurance coverage.

When advising clients on establishing a Will or getting insurance coverage, we need to determine if their families include any special needs member/beneficiary. When there is a dependent person or a person with chronic illness in a family, there might be some obligations of the advisors of the Will (i.e. Estate Lawyers, Life Insurers or Financial Planners) to make special considerations.

Special needs beneficiaries refer to individuals who, due to intellectual, cognitive, functional disabilities, brain diseases, mental illnesses, or injuries, are unable to effectively manage their personal or financial matters. This includes conditions such as Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, and brain injuries.

Life Care Planners can be a good addition to the team of advisors when planning an estate in such cases.

The Life Care Plan is a structured, working document that identifies and estimates an injured or disabled person’s current and future needs in the areas of: home care, medical, rehabilitation, equipment, medication, transportation, and home/environmental accessibility.

Life care planners are certified rehabilitation professionals and educators. They maintain objectivity and base their recommendations upon research literature, the opinions of consulting team members (physicians, therapists), and patient-specific data.

Each recommendation is tied back to the data collected in the interview or history taken with the client or family, as well as review of the available medical records and information regarding client prognosis. Recommendations consider disability, individual, family, and regional factors.

The recommendations are proactive and not reactive. Life care plans are developed in a preventative manner with the goal being to minimize the frequency of occurrence, severity and duration of disability-related complications.

At GLA we are offering Life Care Plans for individuals with a disability. This can be an important tool to calculate expected future life expenses due to aging and disability, as it relates to estate planning or estate litigations.