For most people, thinking about estate planning means focusing on what will happen to their money after they pass away. But that misses one pretty significant consideration: the need to plan for long-term care.
The last thing any of us want to contend with when a health issue arises later in life is having to throw together a hasty estate planning solution in the face of mounting medical costs. Your best defense is careful planning with the help of a trusted expert.
Why it’s so important to plan for long-term care
Only about 19 percent of current U.S. residents will need nursing home care for greater than three years. However, more than half of U.S. seniors require some period of nursing home level care at some time and the costs can mount with alarming speed. Elder Law attorneys can help in a number of ways.
What to go over with your elder law attorney
If long-term care isn’t factored into your estate plan, you are probably not looking at a truly realistic and accurate representation of your assets. Talk to your estate planning attorney about the following factors in order to get on the right track:
1. Set reasonable expectations for long-term care
It’s impossible to know what life will bring, but we can certainly make educated guesses. Estate planning is an aspect of your financial life in which it’s helpful to protect yourself against worst-case scenarios while you hope for the best.
2. Consider a long-term care insurance policy
Do not assume your long-term care will be covered by Medicare of your health insurance plan.
As Medicare or standard health insurance may not cover your costs, a long-term care insurance policy is one way to protect yourself against draining your financial assets. Consider a New York State Partnership policy as it may carry a more affordable premium. Premiums will be lower the younger you are when you apply.
3. Get smart about living wills and trusts
Go over advance directives and end-of-life choices. Discuss options for establishing a living trust as part of your planning.
It’s also important to create a plan that allows someone you trust to access and utilize your financial resources for your benefit in the event of unforeseen medical circumstances. One common mistake is tying up assets in investments that cannot be liquidated quickly when you might need them most. Working with a team of that includes an elder law attorney, financial advisor, CPA and/or insurance professional can provide you and your family with the best overall solution.
Take the time now to talk to an estate planning attorney about the best ways to maintain financial security in tandem with the demands of long-term care. Even if you don’t end up needing long-term care in your lifetime, you can enjoy the peace of mind knowing you’ll be covered.
We’re here to help you by making the process less daunting and scary. Let us help put you in a more secure position for the future.