When you think about estate planning, it is easy to assume that it only involves taking the necessary steps to ensure that your assets are divided according to your wishes. Although this is no doubt part of it, estate planning encompasses many other tasks. One task that has become particularly important in recent times is long-term care planning.
As medicine continues to advance, you will likely live significantly longer than your parents. With these advances, diseases, conditions and injuries that would have killed you in the past can now be managed. Although you may survive more once-fatal medical conditions, you may not necessarily retain full mobility, however. As a result, you may need long-term care. Of course, you are not alone in this regard. According to the Georgetown University Public Policy Institute, about 70 percent of people need some form of long-term care at some point in their lives.
With regard to long-term care, your choices were pretty much limited to nursing homes in the past. Although nursing homes are still around, there are several other options nowadays that provide less intensive care. This is a good thing, as according to estimates, only about five percent of people actually require the level of care provided in a nursing home.
Since many people nowadays would rather avoid nursing homes, other long-term care options have increased in popularity in recent years. Since many people would like to stay in their homes as long as possible, in-home care is a particularly popular option. This type of care involves a caregiver assisting with daily tasks like bathing, dressing and cooking in the home. If the recipient of the care is terminally ill, in-home care can include hospice services.
In addition to in-home care, assisted living is popular option. This type of care allows those that need additional assistance to live in an environment that is more like an apartment than a nursing home. Residents can receive care and assistance when needed. Additionally, many assisted living facilities also offer entertainment options.
Planning is necessary
Although you may prefer a long-term care option other than a nursing home, many of the alternative options are more expensive than nursing home care. Unfortunately, you cannot rely on Medicare, as it will only pay for 100 days of this type of care in most cases. However, estate planning tactics such as the purchase of long-term care insurance and Medicaid planning can help you have a source of financing, should you require long-term care.
To ensure that you are financially prepared for type of care you would like, speak with an experienced estate planning attorney. An attorney can consider your situation and your long-term goals and recommend the best course of action.