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People too often overlook long-term care planning

Providing for long-term care is among the most important reasons for California residents to develop an estate plan, and yet many underestimate their need for it. The U.S. government estimates that 70 percent of people who are currently 65 years old will require long-term care of some kind during their lives. The costs associated with this type of care are often underestimated, and many people don't realize that health insurance will not cover all of it in many cases.

Long-term care consists of a number of different services necessary to address the medical and non-medical requirements of individuals who cannot care for themselves due to disability or chronic illness. It may cover the costs of assistance with such activities as bathing, dressing, moving around or eating.

Medicare and other medical plans may not cover services provided in a person's home, in a nursing home or at a community facility. According to a 2017 report by the Bipartisan Policy Center, a person who is 65 now should expect to pay $138,000 to cover long-term care costs over the course of his or her lifetime. Long-term care insurance is a suitable option for many. It requires the payment of a premium and transfers the risk of covering costs from the individual to the insurer. It may also be a good idea to work with an attorney or financial professional to work long-term care savings into the budget.

Individuals who have concerns about providing for their own long-term care or that of a loved one may want to speak with an attorney who has experience in this area of elder law. Counsel may be able to help by developing a comprehensive estate plan that includes provisions for these types of needs, which could include the creation of a trust designed to handle the financial ramifications.

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