10 Reasons Not to Delay Long-Term Care Planning
You and your spouse are both vital and healthy, and you don’t plan on getting sick. Why then, should you make the effort now to prepare for end-of-life issues? After all, you’re confident you’ve set aside enough retirement funds to give you plenty of leeway, so if anything were to happen, you believe you’ve got it covered. At Phelps LaClair, located in the Phoenix Valley, we’re a qualified Elder Care law firm experienced in Long-Term Care Planning. But that’s not why we urge you to plan NOW for possible Long-Term Care (LTC) in the future. We’ve seen too many people wait too long to set things in place for their later years, and those delays in planning have cost some people a good portion of their estate. For others, the surviving healthy spouse has suffered incredible loss. Entire inheritances have been siphoned off through lack of planning. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
10 Reasons to Act Now on Long-Term Care Planning
Here it is, our partial list of why waiting could be incredibly detrimental to you, to your spouse, to your estate, and to the next generation:
1.) Not planning for the unexpected creates unnecessary stress. When you don’t think about the future, you may not feel stressed. But that nagging sensation of “What if…?” grows as you age, and it will most likely continue to increase as you get older. Settling matters now can give you peace of mind, knowing that if you or your spouse ever need Long-Term Care, you’ve got a strong plan in place that will stand the test of time and keep your finances secure.
2.) Today, a senior citizen (65+) has about a one-in-four chance of spending time in a nursing home (skilled care facility). As the population ages and the baby boomers head into the 65+ age bracket, this statistic will remain constant, or even increase.
3.) Nursing Home costs are on the rise. In Phoenix Arizona, the annual cost of nursing home care during 2017 was $6,494 per month for a semi-private room and $8,389 per month for your own room. That’s $78,000 to $100,000 per year, if you total it up. And the average length of a nursing home stay these days is more than two years! And that’s just for one person. If both you and your spouse require lengthier stays, you can double those amounts.
4.) Most private insurance policies don’t pay for Long-Term Care. Period. It’s just not part of the package, so if you’re depending on your health insurance to pick up the costs of LTC, think again.
5.) Long-Term Care Health Insurance: you may not qualify. Purchase your LTC health insurance policy when you’re younger and healthy, and Long-Term Health Insurance will cost less. Wait until you’re older, or until you’ve got a health condition, and it may be too late, because you may no longer qualify for Long-Term Health Insurance. When it comes to Long-Term Health Insurance, the earlier the better.
6.) The surviving, healthy spouse may pay the price for delay. If you or your spouse are in a nursing home for a number of years, your estate could be drained. The surviving, healthy spouse’s quality of life could be deeply impacted, without adequate financial provision as a result of LTC expenses.
7.) Your children’s inheritance could be spent on your LTC. Even if you do manage to pay for those Long-Term Care costs out-of-pocket, without strategic planning, it’s possible the inheritance you intended to pass on to your children could be spent on LTC expenses. Planning ahead can protect your hard-earned finances and give your children the legacy you desire to pass on to them.
8.) Medicare won’t pay for more than 100 days of skilled nursing care(and that’s if you qualify). If you are eligible, those 100 days must be medically-ordered and follow a 3-day stay in the hospital. After that, you’ll need to pick up the tab, another reason to plan ahead in case you or your spouse ever need a more extended stay.
9.) Waiting too long to transfer assets to your children could disqualify you for Medicaid. If you’re hoping for Medicaid as a solution to take care of you, and you decide to transfer your finances to children in order to keep your funds from being drained away, you’d better plan ahead. The reason being, is that Medicaid has a “Look-Back” policy that gives them the right to refuse coverage if you’ve made certain financial transfers within five years of your request for Medicaid. But work with an Elder Care lawyer to successfully transfer your finances before the five-year look-back period, and your chances of qualifying for financial coverage can remain secure.
10.) Custodial Care isn’t covered by Medicare. As you age, you may never arrive at the point where you need skilled medical care. But what if you can no longer bathe yourself, or feed yourself, or walk without falling? Or what if your spouse needs help, and you’re not able to meet his/her needs? Medicare won’t cover what they call custodial care, which is not medical in nature, but meets the needs of elderly people who cannot care for their own basic needs. If you’ve prepared for it, custodial care can be financially feasible. But without planning, it could become another financial drain or burden during your golden years.
No one plans for debilitating physical circumstances. That’s the nature of the word, unexpected: we never think it will happen to us. Now that you’ve read these 10 reasons for not waiting, why not take the time to plan ahead, and spare the heartache of financial burdens or loss? Talk to a qualified Elder Care law firm and set a plan in place that can protect you, your spouse, and your estate. You’ll be able to rest more easily, knowing you’ve set Long-Term Care plans in place. And your retirement years may just be less stressful, because you’re ready for the unexpected. If you’re in the Phoenix Arizona Valley region, give us a call at Phelps LaClair. We’re qualified, we’re thorough, and we’re caring. And our first consultation is absolutely free.
Photo by Sarah Pflug from Burst