Livens & Reed, PLLC

70 percent of retirees will need long-term care at some time

There are two dramatic statistics that stand out on the subject of elderly planning. First, according to the Long Term Care Group, the average annual cost of a room in a skilled nursing home was $97, 611 in 2014, and it could have been as much as $147,982. Secondly, about 70 percent of people 65 years old and older will need some kind of long-term care. Whether a person lives in Texas or another state, the only reasonably practical way to protect against losing all of one's assets to long-term care costs is to plan and start an aggressive elder law plan as early as possible.

In some cases, the individual may be able to purchase long-term care insurance. That insurance will pay for nursing home or even home-care costs for the coverage term. Because the product is generally expensive, one will benefit from consulting with an insurance or financial adviser to determine the affordability of long-term care insurance under the particular circumstances. The consultation may include investigating some of the hybrid forms of insurance that may be less expensive or that may pay dividends if the coverage is not used.  

If the cost of insurance is prohibitive, one may turn to Medicaid planning. This requires generally a minimal payment to a nursing home until Medicaid can step in and cover the costs. The purpose or general goal of Medicaid planning is to spend down or transfer out one's assets to the level where Medicaid will be able to step in and cover nursing home expenses without having a legal right to claim against the individual's assets.   

This kind of planning is vital to prevent a total usurpation of one's retirement funds, real estate and other assets if long-term care is needed. Elder law planning in Texas can usually protect these assets for oneself and as bequests for one's family. Even with the dramatic difference between long-term care planning and no planning, many elderly individuals and couples have ignored the need to prepare for these probabilities. The best way to assume control of the situation is to obtain a consultation with an elder law planning attorney as soon as possible.

Source:, "Consider long-term care", Dec. 10, 2015

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