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Advance planning needed for long-term care

No one likes to think about getting old and possibly ill. The first, however, will happen to everyone and the second to most of us over time. That is why, especially for people in New York age 50 or older, long term care planning is essential. Insurance policies are available to pay for such costs, and this has become even more important as more people live into their 80s, 90s or beyond. Such longevity makes the possibility that someone will need to be in a nursing home, assisted living facility or have home assistance at some point more likely.

The statistics show that a full 70 percent of everyone reaching the age of 65 will need such care at some point in time, with one-third needing total nursing home care. Yet, all too often, people put off planning for this or even thinking about it until it is too late.

Long-term care planning is an essential part of estate planning, and if not handled properly, can wind up impoverishing an entire family. This can happen in a short period of time and make a mockery of other steps taken to try to leave an inheritance to a spouse and of children. It is possible to avoid this, often through a combination of insurance and savings options.

Such insurance policies are complex, and it is often difficult to understand what is covered and what the exceptions, deductibles and other possible problems are. An experienced estate planning or elder law lawyer understands all the ins and outs of this and can best advise you. Another important thing to understand is how limited the services and care are that Medicare will pay for, and the requirements before Medicaid takes over. For example, existing assets first be spent down. This is another topic to discuss with your elder care and estate attorney.

Source: The Courier, "Why you may need to think about long-term care coverage" Byron W. Ellis, Dec. 21, 2013

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