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Why it's imperative to plan for long-term care costs

Many people wrongly assume that estate planning simply equates to having a will. While a will is certainly the foundation of most comprehensive estate plans, there are numerous other considerations for which individuals must plan and prepare. For example, taking steps to ensure for one's long-term care needs is becoming increasing important as more people are living longer and costs associated with long-term care increase.

When surveyed about fears related to aging, many individuals admit to having concerns about maintaining their health, being able to afford long-term care and having enough money. For older Americans who are often living on a fixed income, planning for long-term care is critical to ensuring these fears don't become a reality.

Medical advances and technology has greatly increased the life expectancy of Americans. Today, individuals over the age of 85 comprise the fastest growing demographic age group in the U.S. Many of these individuals, however, failed to plan for health care, long-term care and other medical needs.

While many of these elderly individuals rely upon Medicare or Medicaid to pay health care expenses, only roughly 16 percent of costs associated with long-term care are covered under these plans. What's more, many elderly individuals do not have family members who live nearby that can help provide for their care.

In order to prevent depleting retirement and savings plans it's imperative that individuals take steps to begin planning for both current and future long-term needs. Failure to do so can result in an individual's savings being quickly depleted or the financial ruin of close relatives.

Rochester area residents who want to discuss long-term care planning options would be wise to seek the advice and assistance of a legal professional. An attorney who handles estate planning matters can tailor long-term care solutions to meet individual needs.

Source: Oconee Patch, "Planning for Long Term Care," Rebecca McCarthy, Oct. 18, 2013

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