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Should I Consider Long-Term Care Planning For Myself Or A Member Of My Family?

by: Thomas D. Begley, Jr.

The Begley Law Group assists many families in long-term care planning.  Unfortunately, it has been our experience that most families wait until a crisis has arrived and it is often too late to save significant assets.  By planning early, families tend to have far better results.  Age 75 is usually an appropriate age to begin this type of planning.  The goals of most families engaging long-term care planning are as follows:

  • Best quality of care for the family member who needs it
  • Ensure that the spouse remaining at home can maintain his/her lifestyle
  • Ensuring that the children will not be responsible to pay for the long-term care of the parent
  • Leaving a legacy to the children, if the parents do not need to use the money for themselves

Approximately 70% of all Americans will require some form of long-term care during their lifetime.  This could be home care, assisted living, or nursing home care.

An effective way to plan for long-term care is to purchase long-term care insurance.  The earlier one buys the long-term care insurance, the less expensive it is.  For many Americans, long-term care insurance is too expensive or the individuals seeking the policy have waited too long so that they are no longer insurable.  If the family cannot afford to pay for the long-term care insurance or if a family member is not insurable, then long-term care planning should begin about age 75.

Here is a Quick Screen to determine whether long-term care planning is appropriate:

Quick Screen

1.      Am I willing to risk all that I have accumulated through a lifetime of hard work and disciplined saving, including my home, my car and all of my liquid assets, rather than take the time to plan for the future?

O  Yes                 O  No

2.      Do I understand that the cost of planning is insignificant when compared to the cost of paying for long-term care?

O Yes                 O  No

3.      Do I understand that the risk of my needing some form of long-term care (e.g., home care, assisted living, nursing home care) is roughly 70%?

O  Yes                 O  No

4.      Do I know what that will cost?

O  Yes                 O  No

5.      Do I know how I will pay for that care if I need it?

O  Yes                 O  No

6.      Do I know what the impact will be on my spouse and children if I spend $100,000+ a year on long- term care?

O  Yes                 O  No

7.      Should I explore the possibility of buying long-term care insurance?

O  Yes                 O  No

8.      Should I hope this problem never arises and ignore it?

O  Yes                 O  No

9.      Do I understand that if I become sick, if may be impossible for my spouse or children to care for me, regardless of how much they are committed to doing so?

O  Yes                 O  No

10.    Are my Wills, Trusts, Living Wills, Powers of Attorney and other legal documents up to date?

O  Yes                 O  No

If you are concerned about the above issues, consider a consultation to get your questions answered.  Contact Begley Law Group today for a consultation.