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Estate planning can help people address long-term care costs

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2024 | Estate Planning |

Many people find it easy to procrastinate when it comes to estate planning because they imagine they have decades before they might die. Those without children or other dependent family members may fail to see the value in establishing a thorough estate plan as a result.

However, while estate planning at its most basic is about what happens following someone’s passing, an estate plan can address numerous other issues as well. For example, testators may engage in long-term care planning as part of the estate planning process. Long-term care planning can help people prepare for the possibility of serious medical challenges as they age. Especially as individuals start thinking about the practical needs of their retirement years, they may come to realize that they need to make arrangements to cover possible medical expenses.

What does the long-term care planning process typically involve?

Addressing potential care costs

As people age, they may experience challenges related to general decline or health conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. People facing more serious health issues may not be able to continue living independently. Their close family members may not be able to provide the level of support they require.

Long-term care planning often begins with an estimation of potential expenses. The cost of staying in a nursing home for several years or having medical support in someone’s home may be beyond what their savings can cover. Medicare does not necessarily cover those expenses either, so people may need to either take out special insurance or plan to qualify for Medicaid if they require ongoing support as they age.

Those trying to ensure they can qualify for Medicaid benefits may need to change how they hold certain assets. The creation of a trust could play an important role in Medicaid planning and can also help protect someone’s assets from creditor claims. A trust can be a useful tool for those worrying about how to protect their resources and qualify for State support later in life.

Establishing trustworthy support

Long-term care plans often include a variety of documents intended to protect someone in a medical emergency. Advance directives can explain their medical preferences in detail, while durable powers of attorney can help them ensure that someone whom they trust handles their needs.

Addressing long-term care needs can be an important element of modern estate planning. Those who address future care needs when creating or updating their documents may benefit from greater protection if they experience medical challenges later.