When seniors plan for retirement and long-term care, most do not include a plan for debilitating illnesses. Being proactive and building a long-term care plan can ease the financial burden for the primary caregiver, who is usually the spouse. While the plan may never be put into motion, options are limited once an illness hits. In Texas, when devising a long-term plan, it is advisable to include one's family in long-term decision making.
Besides long-term care, it may be in the party's best interest to consult with a financial advisor and an elder care attorney. These experts can devise a plan to protect the assets for the surviving spouse. Considering long-term care insurance is one option. However, it can be expensive, and premiums may increase over time. Additionally, policies vary, and coverage may only last five or six years.
Another option to consider is to layer coverage to extend policies. Fixed annuities may offer a rider to enhance benefits should one become ill. Riders are an additional cost on top of the existing policies and may also have hidden fees. Annuities are not the same across the board, so it may be in one's best interest to have a professional review policies to avoid penalties.
Accelerated death benefits may also be a way to get additional money needed to sustain long-term care. The insured is subject to eligibility requirements, and there are usually additional fees involved. After a benefactor's death, benefits paid out to beneficiaries may also be reduced.
Dealing with a serious illness of a loved one can overwhelm all involved. Unplanned long-term care costs can devastate a family. In Texas, the advice of a well-informed attorney, fluent in long-term care and elderly planning, may provide clarity for all options available.
Source: kiplinger.com, "Can You Afford $72,000 a Year for Long-Term Care?", Mark Pruitt, Oct. 31, 2017