The Livens Law Firm

Estate planning should prepare for long-term care possibilities

One danger not fully appreciated or planned for by seniors in Texas and elsewhere is the financial ravages that can occur if the individual becomes permanently disabled and in need of long-term care and nursing home care. People may think that their Medicare covers long-term care, but it doesn't. Most people have not prepared by purchasing private long-term care insurance, nor have they engaged in estate planning with an elder law attorney to establish protections for those eventualities.

The U.S. Department of Health predicts that 70 percent of the population over 65 will need some type of long-term care, and more than 40 percent will need nursing home placement. An elder law attorney can explain how Medicaid and other government programs can be used to solve the problem. At the same time, the elder law professional will assist in setting up legal protections for assets and income.

An elder law attorney will be able to discuss and evaluate your particular situation and provide solutions and information that may be vital to your future financial health and to preserving your assets for your heirs. In some instances, lifetime gifts and living trusts may be set up to pass on the assets and protect them for one's heirs. There are generally time limits on these remedies, meaning that they must be done within a certain number of years prior to entering a nursing home or prior to death.

That means that it could be an urgent matter for those persons who have no protection with respect to long-term care to meet with an experienced professional quickly. In Texas and elsewhere, estate planning will be maximized when it accounts appropriately for long-term care possibilities. Without that element added to the evaluation and construction of an estate plan, the assets could be wiped out prior to one's death.

Source: Fox Business, "Estate Planning Mistakes Every Boomer Should Avoid", Casey Dowd, Aug. 21, 2014

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