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Long term care planning Archives

Long Term Care Planning on Mothers' Day

Long term care planning is always a good idea, since it can help a family protect itself from the expense of long term care.  On Mothers' Day, it can be even more relevant.  Why?  Most mothers want to take care of their families, even when it is hard on them personally, and often sacrifice to make sure their children have what they need.  However, mothers are usually the ones who end in in nursing homes, since women have a longer life expectancy. 

Long Term Care Planning and Retirement Benefits

As part of long term care planning prior to retirement, consider Social Security and other retirement benefits. It is important to know what your income, or maybe both you and your spouse's incomes, will be as you get older.  What will you need to live on?  What will you need to pay for long term care? Do you have retirement accounts, such as IRAs, 401ks, or 403bs?  When should you start taking Social Security or these other retirement benefits?     

Support for Caregivers

Long term care planning can often involve the use of family caregivers to provide services to older loved ones.  Who is a caregiver?  It could be anyone who helps an older person with medication, drives an older person to appointments, picks up groceries or prescriptions, or assists with bathing, dressing and cleaning.  Sometimes, caregivers need a little support, which is what a new program is designed to do.   

Doesn't Medicare pay for my nursing home care?

When discussing long term care planning, many people believe that Medicare will pay for their nursing home care.  Medicare is the federally funded health insurance received by most people upon attaining 65 years of age. However, Medicare will only pay for skilled nursing care under certain circumstances and then only for a limited period of time. As a result, Medicare only pays for about 2% of the total cost of nursing home care. 

Veterans Benefits may be part of long term care planning

As part of long term care planning, Veterans Benefits may be discussed if you or your spouse is a Veteran.  Veterans Benefits are complex and subject to many rules and regulations. To be eligible for pension benefits, a veteran must have limited income, been discharged from service under other than dishonorable conditions, served 90 days or more of active duty with at least 1 day during a period of war time, and be age 65 or older OR permanently and totally disabled.  There may be additional requirements depending on the dates of service. It may be helpful to meet with an elder law attorney to discuss possible eligibility as part of long term care planning.   

Long Term Care Planning - Insurance

When doing long term care planning, one important consideration as a way to help pay for long term care, whether it is care at home or in a facility, is LONG TERM CARE INSURANCE.  This type of insurance is purchased to help deal the costs of long term care, which may be $12,000 to $15,000 per month for care at home, $3,000 to $6,000 per month for a personal care home or assisted living facility and $8,000 to $10,000 per month for nursing facility care. Long term care insurance can shift some of the risk of paying for long term care to an insurance carrier and, therefore, protect your assets. 

Should I Pre-Arrange My Funeral?

Long term care planning involves many issues, one of which is pre-arranging your funeral.  There are a number of advantages to doing so.  You get to choose what type of funeral you want, be it burial or cremation, and what funeral home you would like to use.  You can decide if you  want a viewing, graveside services or only a memorial service.  You take a lot of the burden off of your family by pre-arranging your funeral. They do not have to make funeral arrangements while they are grieving. Making your funeral arrangements ahead of time may also help to reduce family conflicts.

Should my parents transfer their home to me?

When doing long term care planning, a child may ask their parents to transfer the family home to him or her for $1.  The child may think that this is a purchase, but it is considered to be a gift to the child.  A Deed will need to be prepared and signed by the parents and the child.  Should the child want this gift? The 9/14/14 post looked at this transfer from the parents' perspective.

Should I transfer my home to my child?

When doing long term care planning, many people ask about transferring their home to a child for $1. Such a transfer is a gift, a very large gift. The parents plan to continue living in the home. Is the gift a good idea?  There are a number of factors to take into account.  First, consider the number of children. If there is only 1 child, such a gift might be appropriate. If there are several children and the house is only being gifted to one child, such a gift might lead to bad feelings between the siblings.

Planning and the Nursing Home Decision

Part of long term care planning may involve the decision that a loved one can no longer adequately be taken care of at home and needs to be placed in a nursing home.  This is one of the hardest decisions to make since no one really wants to go to a nursing home, and no one wants to have to make that decision.  It is better, if possible, to plan ahead to try to avoid this decision as long as possible. 

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Carol Sikov Gross is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys

NAELA National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc
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