Why Should I Plan for Long-term Care?
I know from experience that everyone who comes into our office has goals and expectations that they bring along with them when it comes to long-term care planning. But did you know that we have goals for each of our clients as well?
Some people see long-term care planning as a shady way to get around having to pay for care as you age. I can assure you that nothing we do when it comes to long-term care planning is shady. We truly care about helping people during one of the most difficult times in their life.
Here are 6 goals we have for every client who comes to us with long-term care planning needs:
1. Plan Ahead
Planning ahead makes sure you can get good long-term care when it’s needed — and someone turning 65 today has a 70 percent chance of needing some kind of care.! Aging in America is expensive, and we’ve all heard horror stories about nursing homes. (Or, sadly, experienced them firsthand with aging grandparents or parents.) No one deserves to be neglected or mistreated as they age. By planning ahead, we can help ensure that the best possible care is available when the time comes.
2. Make sure the right people are in charge
As one ages, there may come a time when someone else will need to make financial and medical decisions. Complications from a stroke or dementia can make it hard to understand details and make decisions. We help our clients think through who might be best to assist them when that time comes. Read more about how to choose good helpers here.
3. Maximize legally available benefits
Maximizing legally available benefits such as VA and Medicaid is crucial when it comes to planning for long-term care. It never ceases to amaze me how many people do not realize they are eligible for benefits. There are many available benefits you may not be aware of if you served in the military, are married to someone who served, or have paid taxes most of your life. Because we do this every day, we know what help is out there. Long-term care is outrageously expensive. Maximizing available benefits is a must.
4. Qualify for benefits as quickly as possible
We can often help clients get benefits quicker than they otherwise would without us. With good Medicaid planning, we can protect assets and start nursing home benefits months, or even years, quicker than without planning. When it comes to the VA, our clients often get approvals in weeks, whereas some families trying it alone are stuck for months or even years in endless bureaucracy. Quicker benefit approval means thousands of dollars more that will be available to pay for care.
5. Protect assets if we can
Under Medicaid guidelines, a person is only allowed to keep $1 per day! That is not enough for extras that you might need as you age. By protecting assets, we can make sure there is money for extras that otherwise couldn’t be afforded. We can help you set up an asset protection trust that will preserve your assets and money even when you are applying for Medicaid. Although these assets will be visible to Medicaid, they will not be counted as assets when you apply for Medicaid, and so you will not be denied benefits just because you have saved and invested wisely your whole life!
6. Make things easier on your family or power of attorney
Dealing with a sick or aging loved one is incredibly stressful. We see it every day. But families don’t need to go it alone. There are many things we can do to help ease the burden so your loved ones can enjoy their final years with you instead of having to stress about how to find care, how to pay for care, etc.
More Resources to Check Out…
• To read more about long-term care planning, check out this article: 8 Keys to Effective Long-Term Planning.
• Watch this video from Attorney David Edwards about why you need long-term care planning.
• If you have a loved one facing immediate needs related to long-term care issues, please call our Elder Care Advisors at 217-726-9200.