When people come in to talk about their estate plans, they expect to talk
about what happens when they die. In fact, that is what motivates many
of them think about putting together an estate plan in the first place.
They want to make sure that the people they love are taken care of in
case they die.
However, it is just as important to talk about what happens if you live
as it is to talk about what happens if you die. This is because as modern
medicine allows us all to live longer lives, the odds of becoming incapacitated
before death increase.
It is crucial to the success of your “death” plan to put together
a “life” plan. Incapacity is expensive. Unless you have a
substantial retirement nest egg built up, paying for assisted living or
skilled nursing can deplete that nest egg pretty quickly. How many of
us are prepared to suddenly add an assisted living bill of $2,000 –
$4,000 per month (closer to $5,000 – $6,000 per month for the specialty
memory care needed for dementia or Alzheimer’s) or $6,000 –
$8,000 per month for skilled nursing (the nursing home)? Long-term care
insurance can give you the bucket of money you need to pay for incapacity care.
Sometimes when people hear the words “long-term care insurance”
they bristle at the thought of buying insurance that makes it easier for
them to move into skilled nursing because living in a skilled nursing
facility is the last place they want to be. They want to stay at home
or maybe move into their own apartment in an assisted living community.
However, without at least looking at the possibility of putting together
a bucket of long-term care insurance dollars, the preferred option of
staying at home or moving to assisted living becomes out of reach for
many people. This is because in many states (like Florida), Medicaid dollars
for care in your home is scarce and Medicaid dollars for assisted living
involves a long waiting list.
Let’s not kid ourselves and think the answer is to move in with your
children either. Unlike in years past, most adult children work outside
the home. Therefore, you have the same problem of how to pay for needed
care to keep you safe during the day living with your child that you have
living in your own house.
Long-term care insurance these days is available in many new and different
ways and unlike in years past, instead of creating a bucket of money to
make it easier for you to pay for skilled nursing care, long-term care
insurance can make it easier for you pay for what most people prefer,
which is care in their homes or in an assisted living community.
So take a little time while putting together your estate plan to explore
the new options for long-term care insurance so you can see if it offers
a solution for the question of what happens if I live?