With one in six elderly Americans being affected by Alzheimer’s and the average cost of a skilled nursing home in Arizona and New Mexico being close to $6,500 a month, it is now more important than ever before for Arizonan’s and New Mexican’s to have a plan for long term care.
The reality is that with the improvements in health care it means that we are living longer, but that also means longer stays in assisted living facilities and skilled nursing homes. Over 500,000 Americans go broke every year trying to pay for long term care and with Alzheimer’s affecting more than 5.4 million elderly Americans, odds are high that you may find yourself committed into some type of long term care facility.
Because the statistics show that more then half of us will need some form of long term care in our lives, it is very important that we plan ahead for the possibility. With the cost being what it is today for long term care, it is easy to see how everything one has worked hard for during one’s life can be rapidly diminished if long term care is needed. Ensuring that your estate is not completely depleted by the costs of long term care is one of the most important pieces of planning you can do today.
There are several ways in which one can pay for long term care costs, and some are better than others. Let’s focus on three main ways to pay for long term care.
The first way to pay for long term care is to privately pay out of your own pocket every month until your assets have all been spent down. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that your assets will last long enough, and you may be in need of care for longer than you expected. This “plan” also ensures that you leave no legacy behind for your loved ones and everything you have worked so hard for during your life is completely gone at the end of your life.
The second way to plan for long term care is to rely on the government to pay for your long term care expenses through public benefits such as Medicaid and Veterans Pension Benefits. These are both means tested programs, which states that if you have the “means” to pay, you will not qualify. There is some planning that can be done to preserve some of your estate and still have you qualify for these benefits, but for the most part the majority of your assets and income will have to be depleted before you will qualify for these public benefits.
The third and final way to pay for long term care is through long term care insurance. This is by far the best plan and the one that I recommend all of my clients look into to see if it is cost effective for them. There are many different kinds of long term care insurance policies out there today, and some policies are better than others. There are some long term care insurance policies out there now that have death benefit riders to them, so that if you don’t use the long term care portion of the policy or you only use a portion of the policy for long term care there is a death benefit payable to your loved ones when you die.
It has become more imperative than ever before that we educate ourselves as to what our options are and to plan for the worst and hope for the best in regards to long term care. The team at MHK is here to help you with this important planning. We would be happy to sit down with you to discuss your options to ensure that you do leave a legacy behind. Call today at 888.222.1328 to schedule a free consultation with a qualified estate planning attorney.
Contributed by MHK Arrowhead attorney and partner David T. Eastman
Why Choose Morris, Hall & Kinghorn:
You have a number of options when it comes to estate planning, so why pick Morris, Hall & Kinghorn? First off, estate planning and asset protection are a very complicated endeavor and you should only trust someone who focuses exclusively on those matters. Also, MHK is a proud member of The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys (AAEPA) which provides us additional support, advanced training, tools and information that is not available to others – which means that we can better protect your assets and your loved ones. We are one of only two firms in Arizona that belong to the AAEPA and are the only firm in New Mexico that has been granted membership. If you have assets and loved ones that you want to protect, you are in good hands with MHK. Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.
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