How to Plan for Long-Term Care Costs

By Peter J. Gilbert

At least seven out of ten Americans age 65 and over will need long-term care at some point. Most people simply underestimate the cost of long-term care, or they think that Medicaid will cover the costs. So what is your best defense against long-term care costs? Advance planning with professional help.

Medicaid won’t pay until almost all the assets of a person/couple are spent, so many people must pay for these costs out-of-pocket until they are nearly out of money; an unnecessary occurrence. There are two primary ways people pay for long term care: with their investment/retirement savings and/or long-term care insurance. Most people review the high cost of long-term care insurance and take a pass, but when that first round of expenses hits, they wish they’d bought it long ago. At that point, it’s usually too late to buy it.

Long-term care insurance, as part of your overall retirement plan, is an option you should consider sooner than later. The best time to start looking at coverage is age 55. If you wait beyond that, you may see higher premiums and risk the possibility of being denied coverage. Having a team including a qualified estate planning attorney and insurance professional can help you discover a solution that works best for your individual situation. If you plan ahead for long term care, it is possible even without the insurance, using legal tools, to provide that “nest egg” for your loved ones and still qualify for Medicaid, or other government benefits, if a long term care crisis occurs.

With age can come injury or illness, so you should look at your options sooner than later. If you rely on family for long-term care, remember, it can take a huge toll on the caregivers—both emotionally and physically—as adult children are also trying to manage their own households. It is the “Sandwich Generation” (while simultaneously caring for aging parents and their own children) who is bearing the brunt of caring for parents, sometimes at the expense of their careers and family life who often come into our office seeking help.

At HighPoint Law Offices we have always strongly believed in communicating early with your loved ones about your long term care plan. In fact, we encourage our clients to hold a Family Meeting where loved ones can hear directly from them about their estate plan, long term care plan and their roles. Our clients tell us that this meeting gives them peace of mind: they know their loved ones are prepared to deal with whatever comes in the future. 

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HighPoint Law Offices PC

At HighPoint Law Offices we support individuals, families, and businesses of all backgrounds with estate planning services that address their unique wishes, goals, and challenges.

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