Did you know that with less than half of all Americans today having an estate plan, even fewer have planned for their long-term care needs? What exactly is long-term care planning? Long-term care planning, or elder law planning, is planning for a possible future when you may need to depend on someone every day due to physical and/or mental cognitive issues.
We meet with seniors and their loved ones on a regular basis about what it means to need long-term care and how to plan successfully to meet those needs. We would like to share and have you think about these critical considerations as you learn more about long-term care.
1. Start to plan for long-term care now. You do not want to put off planning until it is too late. In fact, the best gift you can give yourself is to have a long-term care plan in place so that should the time come when you are in need of long-term care you are prepared and not at risk.
2. Be sure your estate plan is up-to-date and reflects what you want. In addition to a long-term care plan, having an estate plan is important. Your estate plan allows you to give legal authority for healthcare and financial decisions to another trusted person. You can also designate this person or persons the authority to make decisions when you are not able to do so independently.
3. Know the cost of long-term care. Long-term care in any setting is expensive. You can learn the cost for the type of care in our state by using this link from the Genworth Cost of Care Survey. Look at your financial resources. Should the time come that you need long-term care there will be a cost. What can you afford right now? What do you want to protect? What are your monthly bills? Prepare yourself for the future by understanding where you stand right now. Your Florida elder law attorney can assist you with your preparations.
4. Know the different types of long-term care. You need to know that there are many steps in between nursing home care and home care. From homebase care to independent care to assisted-living care and skilled nursing home care, there are many options. You can use this link we want to share with you from the AARP website.
5. Look into whether long-term care insurance is an option for you. Long-term care insurance is a type of insurance that can provide financial assistance should you need long-term care. Do not put off speaking with a long-term care insurance agent to learn more about what your options are.
6. Speak with an experienced Florida elder law attorney. An experienced Florida elder law attorney will be able to educate you on what your options are in numerous circumstances and come up with a plan to make sure you, your family, and what you care about most, is protected. Make a list of questions. Long-term care, the aging process, and family relationships are all complicated. Do not hesitate to make a list of what you are concerned about and the questions you need answered. Be aware, this list will change over time as you answer one question and encounter the next.
7. Know your support group. Unfortunately, many of us do not have the luxury of our children living in the same city, let alone being able to help with long-term care needs should they arise. Determine who your local support group is and speak candidly with them about what long-term care means and how you will get the support you need.
8. Discuss now with your doctors and specialists. Long-term care impacts every person differently. If you have a new diagnosis or a chronic condition, speak freely with your doctor about what you should expect in the future. While your long-term care needs are unique to you, your doctor knows you and will be able to give you advice on what to understand and potentially plan for.
We know this list may seem daunting. We also know you may have more questions now that you’ve read it. Elder and Estate Planning Attorneys, PA, is a law office small enough to provide personal service but large enough to provide service in Jupiter, as well as Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties in Florida. Our law firm will guide you through legal challenges involving elder law, estate planning, trusts, veterans benefits, real estate, and more. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with our attorneys.