Estate Planning for Long-Term Care

Jun 15, 2022 | Estate Planning, Health Care

by Jason M. Gray, Esq.

Many individuals will face the possibility of needing long-term care at some point during their lifetime. Long-term care is usually required when someone needs assistance with performing normal daily activities and that assistance is going to be necessary for a long period of time. That type of care, whether it is through in-home care, an assisted living facility or a nursing home, can be very expensive. Even if you feel like you have enough assets to pay for long-term care for an extended period of time, you will still want to make sure that your estate planning adequately protects you and your family.

Who Pays for Long-Term Care?

One misconception that people may have is that health insurance, Medicare or a disability insurance policy will help pay for the costs associated with long-term care. However, unless you have a long-term care insurance policy, your healthcare insurance will not typically cover these costs. Even if you have a long-term care insurance policy, you will want to be educated about what the policy covers and what is excluded. Sometimes the exclusions in the policy can be very detrimental if you are not prepared for them.

Long-Term Care Estate Planning Isn’t Just for the Wealthy

Another common misconception when it comes to long-term care estate planning is that you need to be wealthy in order for any of this to matter. That is also not true. If anything, long-term care estate planning can be even more important if you do not think that you would be able to afford long-term care for yourself or a family member. Regardless of what your financial situation is, there is no downside to meeting with an attorney that has experience in this area of the law so they can provide you with guidance on what your options might be.

How to Find Tools and Resources for Long-Term Care Estate Planning

An attorney should be able to provide you with a detailed explanation of the tools and resources that are available for long-term care estate planning. The attorney should also be able to fully explain the pros and cons of each option. Some of the basic tools that are available are a last will and testament, a durable power of attorney, a healthcare power of attorney, a living will, a revocable trust or an irrevocable trust. You may also consider putting a life care plan together.

After discussing your financial situation and what your estate planning goals are, an attorney with experience in long-term care estate planning will be able to thoroughly explain all of your options based on your unique circumstances. The type of estate plan that you put into place should be specifically tailored to your needs and family situation. While nobody can predict the future with complete accuracy, there are steps that you can take that will greatly improve your chances of ensuring that you will be able to afford long-term care for yourself or your significant other.

If you have any other questions about estate planning for long-term care, please reach out to me at 208-215-2411 or I’m here to help.

Jason M. Gray is an Estate & Long-Term Care Planning, Business Law, and Land Use Attorney with Smith + Malek, PLLC in Coeur d’Alene.

This has been presented as general information and not as legal advice. Do not engage in legal decision-making without the advice of a competent attorney after discussion of your specific circumstances.