It is never too early to plan for the future, which is especially true when it comes to long-term care planning. Americans are living longer than ever, but medical issues and the need for long-term nursing care can happen at any time. Considering how you will pay for long-term care should be an important element of any estate plan to ensure you get the care you need while shielding your hard-earned assets as much as possible. Skilled estate planning attorneys can help you protect your legacy and determine the best way to pay for long-term care if you should ever need it. Long-term care planning not only protects your assets, it can also make a difficult time easier for your family.
Although most people are eligible for Medicare when they turn 65 years of age, many are not aware that Medicare only pays for 100 days of nursing care. However, Medicaid does pay for long-term care, but it is a need-based program that is only available to those below certain income limits. There is also a five-year “look back” period in which any gifts or transfer of funds prior to the application for Medicaid are subject to reversal or financial penalties.
Seniors who need long-term care must often “spend down” their savings and assets to become eligible for Medicaid. By planning well in advance, you can legally protect your assets and qualify for Medicaid should you require long-term care. Applying and qualifying for Medicaid can be a complex process. Wills and trusts lawyers can advise you on the most effective ways to protect your assets through trusts, gifting, family limited partnerships (FLP) and other asset protection options. These advance planning strategies can serve your overall estate planning goals and protect your family’s financial future.
Long-Term Care Insurance
Long-term care insurance covers you when you are in need of nursing care, but the older you are, the more difficult it is to qualify. Premiums also increase as you age, and pre-existing health conditions can prevent you from qualifying. If you purchase this type of insurance when you are young and healthy it can be a worthwhile investment, as the payout grows over time. However, before purchasing long-term care insurance, it is vital to shop around and seek the counsel of an experienced attorney who can help you understand what a good long-term care policy should include, and whether or not it fits into your overall estate plan. If you own a business, it is critical to consult an experienced business lawyer to ensure your business interests and investments are protected in your estate plan as well.
At Carosella & Associates, our experienced estate planning and wills and trusts attorneys can help you create an effective asset protection plan that allows you to plan for long-term care and protect the legacy you leave behind.