Long-Term Care Planning

Long-term care costs are threatening to bankrupt families and loved ones. Nursing home care is so expensive, these costs can quickly devastate any retirement budget. Unexpected health events are usually very disruptive to well-planned retirement years.

Many people in their 60’s or 70’s agonize over what the future may hold, especially if their parents needed some kind of care as they got older. Other families are elevated to crisis mode when long-term care costs become a reality in their life. Worrying about the following questions is quite common:

“Will I run out of money if I need some kind of care? What is my back-up plan?”

“Who will be here to help take care of me? What if that person is too busy?”

Or, if the family is already in crisis mode the questions can shift to:

“When will I run out of money, and what can I do to protect my assets?”

“What government benefits are available to me, such as Medicaid or Veterans benefits, and what is my plan to move in that direction?”

The good news is there are things you can do! You can proactively protect yourself from this risk with some legal planning options.

It used to be that estate planning was viewed as “death planning.” Meaning, “What will happen when I die?” However, there is much that can be done planning-wise that can ease the financial and emotional strain of getting older.

We believe the emphasis must shift toward more focus on “what happens when I’m living” while still asking the questions, “What happens when I pass away? How can I maximize my quality of life while I’m living? How do I protect my assets against the realities of long-term care costs?”

For these reasons, we encourage everyone in their 60’s and beyond to focus heavily on a process known as Life Care Planning. This type of planning helps address the questions:

“How will I (or my loved one) receive proper care as I age? And how will I (we) pay for that care?”

“How are my (or our) assets protected if an unexpected health event occurs?”

“In our world of unknowns, what contingencies do I (we) have in place to protect us and the legacy we want to leave for our heirs?

A Life Care Plan will:

  • assess where an individual is on the aging timeline identify the individual’s risks and general exposure to the cost of long-term care
  • address key items to consider for proper care in the future, and
  • integrate these items with the client’s estate plan.

Even when faced with a sudden health crisis (like a stroke), there are still ways to protect assets and get the long-term care you or your family member needs. It’s rarely too late to do anything. Unfortunately, many times we are helping clients through crisis planning after an unexpected health event, but even then there are ways to protect assets and preserve quality of life.

This type of planning is quite complicated, with multiple options and variables needing to be taken into consideration, and we recommend anyone considering this path meet with an experienced elder law attorney. Every plan can be different, and we commonly work with VA benefits, irrevocable trusts, Medicaid planning strategies, along with other long-term care planning options.

This time of life can be incredibly stressful, but with proper planning you can achieve peace of mind, preserve your legacy, reduce stress around long-term care, and have a plan in place to protect you and your family. Give us a call at 913-345-2323 if you’d like to schedule a no-cost meeting to discuss Life Care Planning within your estate plans. We’d be more than happy to work with you.

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