Since people are living longer, planning for the possibility of long term health care is becoming a critical component of estate planning. Long term health care is costly. Whether the health care is provided in a nursing home, the patient's home or some intermediate care facility, costs can quickly deplete any but the largest estates. For example, nursing home care costs are currently running on an average of about $60,000 per year.
Long term health care planning should include consideration of long term care insurance or asset preservation where no long term care insurance is in place. Federal and State spousal anti-impoverishment laws and regulations allow patients to qualify for Medicaid benefits to pay for long term health care while significant assets are retained for the support and comfort of spouses and family members.
However, early planning is essential in order to help preserve assets. It is important to meet with an attorney with expertise in this area as early as possible to explore your rights and opportunities for asset preservation.
Long Term Care Insurance
Long term care insurance is an important and effective element of any comprehensive estate plan. However, it is best to shop for and purchase long term care insurance while you are healthy. Certain medical conditions will cause ineligibility for long term care insurance.
Long term care insurance is probably the best method of preserving assets when a family member requires long term health care. However, as noted above, long term care insurance isn't always an option.