With everything we have been through in the past year, I think it would be fair to recommend that all of us have reason to review our estate planning documents. And if you don’t have any, now is the time!
Especially if you are over the age of 60.
Typically, we tend to review our estate plan when we get older or if there has been a significant change in our circumstances. However, if you are over the age 60 and you haven't updated your estate plan in many decades, it’s time to update your documents. After everything has been updated, you should continue to review your plan every two and half years.
Here are a few age ranges and what they mean in terms of estate planning:
Compare Costs, Types of Service in Your Area
The rising cost of long-term care, coupled with an increasing array of options, can make it difficult for families to find the best, affordable care. AARP provides a handy dandy calculator that can assist with that process by estimating the cost of long-term care. Options include expenses for care in a nursing home, assisted living facility or adult day care, and use of a home health aide or homemaker service.
Don’t wait for a crisis to hit and realize you are not prepared. The whole point of proper estate/long term care planning is to have a plan in place with all the documents you need ready to go – regardless of what life brings. You want these documents ready to work the way they are supposed to, and most importantly, when you need them.
We never know what the future will hold, and tomorrow is never a guarantee. Which becomes even more evident as you approach retirement years. That’s why it’s important to have a plan in place that can help you no matter what. For example, what if you or your partner develop dementia, one of you needs to move into an assisted living facility, you have a health emergency, or everyone stays well and happy for many years to come? Bob Michaels can help you prepare for all these possible scenarios and help you build a roadmap for the future customized to your specifications and personal situation.
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.
Action Plan for Long-Term Care
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.