Short Answer: Yes!
When it comes to Long-Term Care, a common approach is to simply hope we don’t need it:
“I am healthy now, if I get sick or have troubles down the road, my spouse or one of our children will take care of me.”
Or worse: “If that time should ever come, I will deal with it then.”
As the great Coach Vince Lombardi is credited with saying many years ago: “Hope is not a strategy.” “Later” is often too late, and where there may once have been planning opportunities, too often we are left with crisis management when it comes to Long-Term Care.
Unfortunately, the statistics are not in our favor. Most of us will need it, at least for a while. At the high end, it is estimated 70% of people currently turning 65 will require long-term care and will need it for an average of 3 years.
Prices continue to go up for care and can easily cost $8,000 to $12,000 a month or much more depending upon quality. Such a large ongoing cost can quickly diminish a lifetime of savings. In addition, with rising costs of both care and insurance added to the uncertainty of whether the industry will still be strong when you need it, there is much to consider and weigh out.
Another consideration is: Where will you live? There is a lot written about “aging in place,” and we often hear clients say: “I want to remain in my home.” Or: “I don’t want to end up in a nursing home!”
But is your home suitable for the extreme needs of a disabled resident? You may want to stay at home, but is that a realistic answer for your spouse or loved ones? What if dementia sets in and you and your loved ones no longer recognize one another? Should your spouse or loved ones bear the responsibility for that level of care?
These are a few of the questions good Long-Term Care planning seeks to address. More below.
What Is Long-Term Care?
Long-Term Care in general means help with physical or emotional needs over an extended period of time (weeks to years) due illness, disability or any other condition. Care includes day-to-day assistance with basic activities of life such as:
- Walking, bathing, dressing, using the bathroom;
- Housekeeping, meal preparation;
- Shopping, transportation; and
- Paying the bills, selecting and managing medical care providers, etc.
What Is Long-Term Care Planning?
Long-Term Care planning covers a variety of areas, including:
- Housing Planning- where will you live and how it fits into your idea of the best care for you (and your spouse or loved ones).
- Care Planning- how you will receive and pay for care.
- Asset Protection- preservation of assets for your spouse and future generations.
- Medicaid Planning- eligibility for government sponsored benefits, if available.
- Veteran’s Benefits, if available.
- Estate Planning- direction on how to proceed if unable to make decisions for yourself, asset and business succession, tax planning.
How Does Estate Planning Differ From Long-Term Care Planning?
At its core, estate planning answers these questions:
- Who can manage your financial affairs and pay your bills if you can’t?
- Who makes medical decisions for you if you can’t?
- Who is in charge of your assets when you die?
- Who gets what when you die?
Good Long-Term Care planning includes all of these plus the Long-Term Care Planning items listed above. In short, good Long-Term Care planning carefully balances the interests of:
(A) Arranging things in an orderly fashion for your loved ones, with
(B) Taking the best possible care of you during your lifetime.
Benefits to Planning Now:
As noted above, procrastination is not the best approach. Here’s how you benefit from taking action now:
- More Options and choices in where you live and who provides your care.
- You make the decisions, rather than leaving those to your loved ones.
- Peace of mind and comfort for you and your loved ones.
- Lower costs!
Let Oakstone Law assist you in your Long-Term Care Planning! Call us today! Ask us how we can help you obtain a Long-Term Care planning assessment.