During the bad days at work, a few things may have kept you going: First, that when you retire, you can enjoy spending some of your hard-earned cash, and second, that you leave your children a healthy estate to give them a helping hand.

Sadly, for many people, these dreams do not turn into reality. Either they die before they can enjoy their savings, or they get ill, and their money goes to the care homes, leaving little for their children.

While it is good to be optimistic in life, a healthy dose of pessimism goes a long way when it comes to estate planning. You need to plan for the worst that could happen, as well as the best.

Here are some mistakes people commonly make when planning for their future:

  • Failing to plan for long-term health care: If you have not already started, do so now. It is better late than never.
  • Failing to use the legal tools available: The law allows you to reduce your estate and protect some of your assets through tools such as trusts and gifts. Failing to use these options could mean that money is lost to pay for health care or taxes.
  • Failing to keep money aside: You might think the best option is to pass all your money to your children so that you can plead poverty if you need to pay for health care. The authorities will notice if one day you had plenty of assets and the next, you had none and may penalize you. Your children could also leave you stranded should they wish.
  • Failing to apply for Medicaid at the correct time: Applying too early or too late can lead to unnecessary delays or expenses.

Medicaid planning is a complicated topic which you should not tackle alone. Your future is at stake, so it is best to seek legal advice.