Long-term Care Planning is one of the biggest issues facing aging adults today. Experts project that nearly 70% of all individuals will need long-term care at some point in their life. And yet, that care is outrageously expensive at a time in life where one is generally no longer working and is trying to get by on a fixed income.
This is a hugely impactful issue for our aging loved ones. Without proper planning, the need for long-term care can be the single greatest crisis that an aging person will face in their lifetime. (Source: National Care Planning Council)
Keys to Effective Long-term Care Planning
We believe these are the 8 keys to effective planning around this issue:
- Plan ahead
- Maximize your benefits
- Veterans, don’t miss out
- It’s not to late for planning, even if you’re in a nursing home
- Don’t rely on “free” advice
- Long-term care insurance gives you the best (and most) options
- Beware of jointly owned property
- Watch out for gifting without a master plan
Let’s take a closer look at each one of these…
1. Plan Ahead
The longer you wait to plan, the fewer options will be available. Financial options such as long-term care insurance may become unavailable or too expensive. Legal options such as irrevocable trusts or gifting strategies will not be as effective if they are implemented later in life. The earlier you plan, the better. Read about the 5 life stages of planning here.
2. Maximize Your Benefits
Get legal advice from those who are experienced at maximizing available benefits such as Veterans benefits or Medicaid. Many families are unaware of the possible benefits they could legally receive.
3. Veterans, Don’t Miss Out
Many veterans miss out on VA benefits they qualify for and earned through service to our country. Widows of veterans may qualify for benefits as well. So, even if the veteran is deceased, his widow should get advice from a qualified professional on possible VA benefits available to her.
4. It’s Never Too Late to Plan
Even if someone is already in a nursing home, there still may be legal strategies to maximize benefits. Our Elder Care Advisors can assess your family’s situation and find ways to get help paying for the nursing home.
5. Don’t Rely on “Free” Advice
Some families are told informally by their nursing facility or social worker to just spend down all the assets before seeking other benefits. By seeking the advice of an experienced professional who works with these issues every day, families may discover other planning options.
6. Long-term Care Insurance Gives You the Best (and most) Options
If you qualify and can afford long-term care insurance, then that is often the best strategy. Long-term care insurance gives the most options for protecting assets, staying at home, and having more free choice as to which facility you can enter when the time comes. Read our article, “Should I buy long-term care insurance?” here.
7. Beware of Jointly Owned Property
If you own property jointly with others (siblings, parents, friends) then their lack of long-term planning could impact you. If they need care, the property may end up with a lien and then you may be forced to pay off the lien or sell the property.
8. Watch Out for Gifting Without a Master Plan
Suppose someone is unconcerned about long-term care but decides to give away large gifts to their children. Later, if care is needed, those gifts may cause a problem when applying for Medicaid benefits.
Are you putting off long-term care planning? If so, you’re putting yourself and your family at great risk of financial and emotional hardship.
If you’d like our help in creating a long-term care plan give us a call at 217-726-9200! If you already have a loved one in a nursing home, we can help you identify areas in which you may be missing benefits that can help ease the burden of paying for a nursing home. Our Elder Care Advisors help families every day with this stressful time of life.