Are You Afraid You Cannot Pay for Long Term Care?
Generally, beginning in the early to mid-seventies, seniors begin to worry about how they will pay for long term care if the worst happens and they need caregivers at home or must go to a nursing home. Some seniors wait to worry about this issue until they are in their eighties and a tragic event such as a serious illness, falls, dementia, Parkinson’s, or Alzheimer’s forces them to face the issue.
Whenever they begin worrying about paying for long term care, other questions quickly follow, such as:
“Will ‘they’ [meaning the nursing home or the government] take everything?”
“What can I give to my children and grandchildren?”
“What can my spouse keep if I go to a nursing home?”
“This is a second marriage, what can ‘they’ take?”
The good news is that there are many options for handling the costs of long term care. Even better, there are many options that can preserve assets and allow you to pass property to your children and grandchildren. The key to having the best options is early planning. Ideally, seniors need to plan early for the possibility that the worst will happen and they will need long term care. What is early? We find that the early seventies tends to be the time frame that presents the best options and is more acceptable to seniors. That said, there are options that are available for seniors that may be in their nineties.
How do you know what options will work for your situation? An Elder Care Action Plan or Strategy Letter can provide the road map for your family. This type of planning evaluates your income sources, all forms of assets and property, your health, family dynamics, goals and wishes for the remainder of your life, and the distribution of assets to family. The planning also reviews any long term care policies, the chances of obtaining coverage, the various options available for at-home care, private care, nursing home care, and the possibility of any government benefits that may help to pay for care. The plan breaks down how long you can pay for various options and what options are most cost-effective for you. If this planning is done early enough, it will also include analysis for sheltering or protecting your assets and property. This form of planning is not the same as what your accountant or financial advisor does. However, it is often done in conjunction with planning your financial advisor may be doing. This type of planning educates you so you can make choices. It also works to maintain family harmony because there is a roadmap for everyone to read, understand and follow. It is an ideal way for seniors to take control of their lives and make educated decisions about the quality of their lives and the impact on their families.
Partner, Bradford & Holliman, LLC
Practice focuses on estate planning, elder law and special needs trust.
2491 Pelham Parkway, Pelham, Ala. 35124
This article is for educational purposes and is not intended for specific legal advice.