Each year, October is designated as Long-Term Care Awareness Month in the United States, making it the perfect time to make sure you have included long-term care planning in your estate plan. If you have yet to give serious thought to long-term care (LTC), now is the perfect time to do so to ensure that you are prepared when the time comes. The long-term care planning attorneys at Nash Bean Ford, & Brown LLP discusses what you can do to prepare for the need for long-term care.
Long-Term Care Facts and Figures
- The average nationwide cost of a year in LTC was over $100,000 for 2019
- 78% of adults who are getting long-term care at home rely solely on family and friends for their assistance
- The average caregiver is a woman around 46 years of age
- On average, the caregiver spends about 21 hours per week assisting their patient or family member
- Over 90% of family caregivers had to alter their work schedule permanently due to caring for their loved one
- Around 40% of caregivers have had to switch from working full-time, to part-time.
- Close to half said they had to skip vacation and other personal activities in order to take adequate care of their loved one
- 29% had to use their own money in providing care
- More than 10% had to move in order to be closer to their family member in need of care
- Around 10% had to take a pay cut at their full-time job
Planning for Long-Term Care
When creating a long-term care (LTC) planning component within your comprehensive estate plan, there four major decision categories you will want to include: housing, health, legal and financial.
- Health – When you enter your retirement years you already stand a 50-70 percent chance of needing some type of LTC services before the end of your life. In Illinois, the average cost of LTC was just over $80,000 a year for 2019. With an average length of stay of three years, your retirement nest egg could be depleted quickly if you have to pay for that care out of pocket. Moreover, because neither Medicare nor most basic health insurance plans will cover LTC expenses, you may be forced to pay out of pocket, or you will need to qualify for Medicaid.
- Housing – Where will you live as a senior? If you plan to relocate, what is the cost of living where you wish to live? If you plan to stay where you are, does it make sense to downsize? Is joining a retirement community or purchasing a smaller home the best choice? What resources are there in your community for seniors? Be sure to consider all these factors before you reach retirement age.
- Legal — This process will primarily involve drafting legal documents to ensure your wishes are carried out if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. As part of your estate plan, you should have, at a bare minimum, a Last Will and Testament or a Living Trust, a living will and a medical power of attorney. Along with ensuring that your estate is distributed as you wish, these documents will also ensure that your wishes with regard to medical treatment are honored and that someone of your choice makes decisions for you if you cannot make them yourself.
- Financial — One of the most significant factors in any long-term care plan is cost. Once you know what you want and need, you will want to plan for how to cover that cost. If you already have a separate retirement plan, now is the time to make sure that your estate plan and your retirement plan work in harmony with each other. It is also the time to review your overall financial picture to make sure you can afford to live comfortably during your retirement years. Medicaid planning may also need to be added to your estate plan to protect assets and ensure eligibility for Medicaid to help cover the high cost of nursing home care if you need it down the road.
Contact our Long-Term Care Planning Attorneys
For additional information, please download our FREE estate planning worksheet. If you have additional questions or concerns about long-term care planning, contact experienced long-term care planning attorneys at Nash Bean Ford, & Brown LLP by calling 309-944-2188 to schedule your appointment today.