When most people think about estate planning, their primary concern is usually “what happens when I die?”
Although this is an important discussion, it’s just as important to consider the impact of long-term care on the financial and emotional well-being of an individual or family.
Consider that 5 out of 1,000 people will experience a house fire at some point in their life. The average economical loss of a house fire is less than $5,000. Of that, 70 out of 1,000 people will have a car accident at some point in their life. The average economic loss of a car accident is less than $7,500. However, 600 out of 1,000 people will need long-term care at some point in their life. That’s a 60% chance an individual needs long-term care and the typical cost is around $50,000 to $120,000 per year. Even though the probability and cost of long-term care are much higher, few people plan for long-term care until it’s too late.
Without proactively planning, you may end up throwing together a hasty estate planning solution in the face of mounting medical costs when a health issue arises later in life. Your best defense is careful planning with the help of a trusted expert.
Why it’s so important to plan for long-term care
The average cost of a nursing home in Virginia for 2019 is about $7,000 per month. This is an enormous financial strain for even the most intentional savers. In-home care providers and assisted living facilities can also be expensive depending on the amount of assistance that you or your loved one needs.
As those costs add up, you could be forced to liquidate assets and see your estate quickly diminish. Fortunately, an experienced elder law attorney can help in a number of ways.
What to discuss with your attorney
If the cost of long-term care isn’t factored into your estate plan, you may need to consider a more realistic analysis. Talk to an elder law attorney about the following factors in order to ensure you and your family are protected:
1. Think about the “hard” questions related to your long-term care
It’s impossible to forecast the future, but you can certainly make an informed decision. For example, are there any major diseases that run in your family? Like any insurance plan, a good estate plan is helpful to protect yourself against the worst-case scenarios.
If there is a reasonable likelihood that you will require such care, at what age could you reasonably predict you will need it? Do you have any current health conditions to consider? Do you have long-term care insurance? Do you have liquid assets sufficient to provide for your long-term care? Exploring some of these questions may not be the most enjoyable exercise, but it’s far better than you or your loved ones facing the reality of long-term care with no plan in place.
2. Consider a long-term care insurance policy
Medicare or standard health insurance will probably not cover your costs, so a long-term care insurance policy is one way to protect yourself against draining your financial assets. Be sure to ask for resources to help find a policy that may be right for you. The sooner you begin this process, the lower your premium will be.
Another possibility is planning to utilize government-subsidized benefits, such as Medicaid or Veteran’s Aid and Attendance. Be sure to discuss options and strategies with your elder law attorney to determine the requirements for qualification and solutions based upon your unique situation.
3. Learn more about living wills and trusts
Most importantly, you must create a plan that allows a trusted individual to access and utilize your financial resources for your benefit in the event of an unforeseen medical circumstance. Working with a team of professionals that includes an estate planning attorney, financial advisor, and insurance professional can provide you and your family with the best overall solution.
Take the time now to discuss your unique estate plan with our attorneys and find out about the best ways to maintain financial security while also protecting your estate in the face of rising healthcare costs. Even if you don’t end up needing long-term care in your lifetime, you can enjoy the peace of mind knowing you’ll be covered.
The process of completing a long-term care plan may sound daunting, but the experienced Elder Law and Estate Planning attorneys are Davis Law Group are here to help you by making it a streamlined experience — simply contact us today and let work with you to ensure a more secure future.