Long-Term Care Planning Month Is a Great Time to Plan
October is designated as “Long-Term Care Planning Month” each year in the United States. For all of us, it provides an excellent reminder of the need to have a long-term care (LTC) plan in place or the perfect opportunity to review your plan if you do have one in place. With that in mind, the Coral Gables estate planning attorneys at Stivers Law encourage you to create or update your plan during Long-Term Care Planning Month this October.
What Is Long-Term Care?
Long-term care refers to a range of services and supports you might need to meet your personal care and/or medical needs. Most long-term care is not exclusively medical care, but rather medical care combined with assistance with the basic personal tasks of everyday life, sometimes called Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), such as:
- Using the toilet
- Transferring (to or from bed or chair)
- Caring for incontinence
Why Is It Important to Plan for Long-Term Care?
The natural aging process catches up to all of us eventually if we live long enough. At some point, our bodies will begin to deteriorate, making simple tasks more difficult than they once were. If you also suffer from Alzheimer’s or another age-related dementia condition, you will need around-the-clock care at some point. Counting on an adult child, or another family member, to provide that care may be unrealistic for a variety of reasons. Even if your loved one wants to be your caregiver, family and/or financial demands may make that impractical. In addition, if you do develop Alzheimer’s, or suffer from other serious medical conditions, you may require the type of care that can only be provided by an LTC facility.
Planning for the possibility that you will need nursing home care is important to ensure that such an important decision as choosing a nursing home facility is not made under pressure. In addition, the cost of LTC can be prohibitive. For 2021, the national average for a year in LTC was just $100,000. Medicaid will help cover your LTC expenses; however, you will first need to qualify for coverage. If you did not anticipate the likelihood that you will need to qualify for Medicaid, you could end up losing your retirement nest egg before becoming eligible for Medicaid.
What Is Involved in Long-Term Care Planning?
Long-term care planning typically starts with planning for the need to qualify for Medicaid. Medicaid is primarily funded by the federal government and is intended to help cover healthcare costs for low-income individuals and families. Consequently, the program uses income and asset limits when determining eligibility. In most states, the asset limit is as low as $2,000 for an individual. Although some assets are excluded when determining eligibility, the average senior has amassed enough assets over the course of a lifetime to have non-exempt assets worth more than the program limit. That means your application will be denied and you will eventually have to rely on your retirement nest egg before Medicaid will pitch in and help. By including long-term care planning in your comprehensive estate plan now, however, you can protect that retirement nest egg and ensure that you will be eligible for Medicaid if you do need assistance covering your LTC expenses down the road.
Contact Our Coral Gables Estate Planning Attorneys
For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE webinar. If you have additional questions or concerns about how to incorporate long-term care planning into your estate plan, contact the experienced Coral Gables estate planning attorneys at Stivers Law by calling (305) 456-3255 to schedule an appointment.