When someone hears that I'm an elder-law attorney, they invariably assume I handle wills and trusts. I then explain the difference between elder law and estate planning. An estate plan covers the scenario of someone dying. It dictates how the assets will be distributed and to whom. An additional emphasis is placed on minimizing estate and inheritance taxes through the use of wills and trusts.

But in today's world, the bigger and more difficult question is: "What happens if I live?" What happens if an individual lives through declining health and increasing health care costs? And there are even more questions if the person has to rely on others for assistance, either temporarily or permanently. An estate plan can help you answer the first question, but a long-term care plan can help you answer both questions.

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