Americans are living longer and healthier lives than ever before. And while this is true, it’s also true that more of us than ever before will need some form of long-term care. This fact changes the way we look at both retirement planning and estate planning.
There are three main ways to pay for long-term care:
- Pay out-of-pocket through savings or by selling off assets. This method of paying for care requires advance planning and may have a great effect on the size and type of inheritance you can leave to your loved ones when you pass away.
- Pay using long-term care insurance. If you intend to use insurance to pay for your long-term care needs, you’ll need to engage in some planning, since this type of insurance generally does not become effective immediately, and because policies are more affordable the further in advance they’re purchased.
- Pay using Medicaid. Planning is required here, as well, because the Medicaid program has strict eligibility requirements and you may need to “spend down” your assets in order to qualify for benefits.
The first step toward including your long-term care needs in your retirement and estate planning is to have an idea of what those needs will be. You can get an idea of the costs of different types of long term care in your specific area by using this calculator. Your estate planning attorney can suggest strategies for balancing long-term care costs with your other estate planning goals and needs.