Long-term care, whether provided in a private home, a nursing home, an assisted living facility or a continuing care retirement community, is expensive. According to the 2020 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, the median national rate for a private room in a nursing home is over $100,000 a year.
Many family caregivers and seniors assume these costs will be taken care of by Medicaid, the jointly funded federal and state program that provides health insurance for people with low income and limited assets. When it comes to long-term care, this public assistance program does pay for the largest share of these services, but only if a senior meets strict financial and functional requirements. Medicaid is administered by each state, so keep in mind that criteria can vary considerably from one state to another.
Every day I hear stories or talk to folks who were doing just fine, thinking they had a firm plan in place for their future, until someone (typically a spouse or a parent) gets sick. As the illness continues, now faced with long-term care expenses, they realize their ‘plan’ did not include nearly enough to keep up with the ever-increasing health care costs.
“How will we pay for this?” Is the number one question I hear regarding long-term care. Long-term care costs have two components, the nursing home, assisted living, or living situation, and the indirect component, the unpaid caregiving. The people who come in to help you, your family members, or the things that long-term care insurance doesn't cover. Did you know over $500 billion a year is spent in ‘unpaid’ caregiving in this country? And these costs get higher every year.
Many people put off creating a long-term-care plan, yet half of people turning age 65 will require some type of long-term care in their lifetimes. On average women will need 2.5 years of care, while men will need an average of 1.5 years. The cost of nursing-home care in a private room has passed the $100,000/year mark, and in major urban areas, the cost of care can run much higher.
Finding the RIGHT attorney that fits your specific needs is not easy, particularly when it comes to Elder Law.
What is an Elder Law Attorney?
Elder law is an area of legal practice that specializes on issues that affect the aging population, or those planning for life. The purpose of elder law planning is to prepare the an aging person with financial freedom and autonomy, by utilizing proper financial planning and long-term care options.
The federal estate tax exemption may be lowered, which means it may be time to think about steps you can take to keep your estate from being taxed. An irrevocable life insurance trust will allow you to pass on money to your heirs while avoiding both the federal estate tax, as well as any applicable state estate tax.
What happens to all your digital accounts, services and property after you die? The official name for all these is a Digital Estate Plan (DEP).
With a DEP in place, all your digital accounts and services can be deleted, managed or transferred to someone after you've passed. You can also ensure all paid or recurring services are closed and not draining money from your bank account or racking up credit card debt. Finally, a DEP will provide guidance and direction about what you want done with your digital assets and overall online presence.
In the same way you need to organize your physical possessions, it’s best to leave an organized plan in place for your digital life as well.