As a nation, we are getting older. The so-called 'baby boomer' generation is turning 65 at a rate of 10,000 a day. And what many of them are discovering is that they are woefully unprepared for growing old in modern America, especially if they become ill and require what is known as "long-term care" in a nursing home or other facility without (or sometimes even with) the benefit of Long-Term Care Insurance - insurance that must be purchased early, when an individual is healthy and insurable. If a person waits too long or until they "need it", it may be unaffordable or they may not be able to meet the underwriting requirements. |
Consider the Long-Term Expense
The cost of long-term care is nothing to sneeze at. Medicare is notoriously stingy with long-term care, covering, at most, only 100 days and not all of that at 100%. Today, in Florida, the median cost of a nursing home is about $250 per day - which works out to over $90,000 a year - and it is increasing at a rate of 5% each year. That means in just five years the annual cost of a nursing home will be approximately $115,000! Even if you are in a position to afford such an expense, it can quickly wipe out even substantial estates that might have been intended to benefit children, grandchildren or charities. Medicaid may be an alternative source or long term care funding but there are significant income and resource requirements that must be met. And, Medicaid funding is not unlimited - States are making eligibility more difficult as federal funding for the program is constantly under scrutiny and will likely be unable to keep up with demand.
The Key to Long-Term Planning
Fortunately, there are some long term care asset protection strategies that can insulate assets without having to resort to "spending it all." The key is early action: Most elder law planning solutions for long-term care need to be firmly established long before the need for nursing home care and especially before a person's mental capacity is diminished. The main take-away to keep in mind is that the longer estate and elder law planning are delayed, the more likely a senior's assets may be wiped out completely or - even worse - that children will bear the responsibility for the long term care expenses for parents. Already, the "sandwich generation" - children with elderly parents that require care, while still caring for children at home - is feeling the stress of making good long term care decisions with and for their parents, without sacrificing their own retirement or the education of the children.
With a little foresight, strategies exist and estates can be effectively protected without sacrificing care and comfort in our old age. Contacting a board certified elder law attorney sooner rather than later is the best way to create comprehensive strategies for the protection of hard-earned family assets. The Law Offices of Hoyt & Bryan, LLC is the only Florida law firm with two attorneys board certified in wills, trusts and estates and elder law. Peggy R. Hoyt is a Florida Circuit Court mediator and in that capacity her primary focus is resolving family business and estate matters. If you need legal assistance regarding estate planning, please call Ms. Hoyt at 407-977-8080 or visit http://HoytBryan.com
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