The need for long-term care planning is extensive. In fact, studies show that as many as 70% of elderly individuals will need long-term care at some point in their lives. The truth of the matter is that many of these individuals are woefully unprepared for this long-term care, which means that when the time comes, they are incapable of paying for the care that they need.

What happens then? In most instances, family members are thrust into a caretaking role, which can be stressful, time-consuming, and expensive. One out of five Americans find themselves in this caretaking role, primarily on account of the fact that half of Americans have no long-term care plan in place.

How to engage in long-term care planning

We understand that thinking about your own declining health can be uncomfortable. But do you really want to leave your loved ones on the hook by forcing them to quit their job to take on a caretaking role? Probably not. That’s why you need to think about devising a thorough long-term care plan now.

To start, you should think about a few key aspects of your future care. This includes:

  • The kind of care that you want, whether it be in a nursing home, long-term care institution, or in-home with health services
  • When you expect that the need for care will arise
  • Who, specifically, will provide your care

Once you’ve identified these aspects, then you can start thinking about planning for that future.

Paying for long-term care

Although you might be able to rely on your savings to a certain extent to help you cover your anticipated long-term care expenses, the truth of the matter is that long-term care can be tremendously expensive. In some instances, costs can exceed $100,000 per year. So, your savings may not be enough. Thus, it’s wise to consider other planning options, such as long-term care insurance or Medicaid planning. Keep in mind that if you hope to rely on Medicaid to assist you with your long-term care needs, then you’ll have to make sure that your assets are under the threshold for Medicaid qualification.

You can reduce your assets in a number of ways through sound estate planning. This oftentimes involves having assets converted into non-countable assets, such as through the use of a Miller trust, whereby your income is placed into the trust with a small personal allowance being paid out to you and your spouse, as well as payments made to cover certain medical expenses. It’s important to note, though, that at the time of death, any assets remaining in the trust will be collected by Medicaid. Although that may not sound like a great outcome, keep in mind that you only need to place enough income into the trust to decrease your countable assets to the point that you qualify for Medicaid.

Be prepared for your long-term care needs

Estate planning is a daunting process for many people, but it doesn’t have to be. There are a lot of options out there to suit whatever your needs may be, including ensuring that you have the resources needed for long-term care. You just have to be proactive in finding a way to address your needs and ensure that any legal documents that you create are legally valid.

For these reasons, it might be wise for you to discuss your circumstances with an experienced estate planning attorney who may be able to help you craft a path moving forward that suits your needs and protects not only your interests, but also the interests of your loved ones.