Many people in Ohio and nationally are uncertain about what they should be doing when it comes to planning for their future and providing for their heirs and loved ones down the road.

They may wonder if they need a will or one or more trusts, or both? They might wonder — or have heard acquaintances talking — about concepts like durable power of attorney, health care power of attorney, living will declaration, guardianships, gifting and myriad other things that might not intuitively or immediately make much sense.

One thing that does not loom large in the realm of uncertainty regarding future planning needs is the persistently rising cost of medical care. Everybody knows the direction that health costs are going — steadily north.

That has outsized implications for millions of aging Americans, especially those who will need to turn to the federal Medicaid program to help pay for long-term care needs either at home, in assisted living quarters or in a nursing home.

We discussed that subject in an article touching upon both estate planning and Medicaid planning, noting that it can get a bit murky when it comes to determining what exactly needs to planned for.

We noted in that article that planning needs for some individuals and families must encompass both areas. That is, sound estate planning can help preserve assets, avoid taxes and pass along property to heirs in an optimal fashion, while Medicaid planning can promote the aim of suitably qualifying for long-term care.

As we stated, Medicaid “can dove-tail with estate planning or it can be mutually exclusive.”

One thing is certain about Medicaid planning, and that is the need to start focusing upon it as early as possible. Delaying planning will reduce options and likely result in a loss of assets.

A qualified elder law attorney can answer questions and provide sound assistance in all areas of planning, whether they are related to asset preservation, the passing of property, tax avoidance, long-term care assistance, or all of those and additional matters.

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