Financial Literacy

Long-term care planning

With about 10,000 Americans turning 65 each day, many families are making decisions about elder care. Due to the complexity and importance of these decisions, elder-care planning should include working with financial and estate-planning professionals who are experts at protecting assets and paying for care, if needed.

Several avenues exist to pay for elder care needs. Traditional avenues, such as Medicaid, have strict requirements for eligibility. To meet Medicaid requirements, many families are forced to exhaust their assets, and less wealth is passed to future generations. Families are being left impoverished. Most of us know folks who have lost family homes and prospective inheritance due to the financial burden of long-term elder care. This substantial loss is due to the lack of professional planning. Long-term elder care planning is not limited to Medicaid impoverishment creation. Spending down does not have to be the only option. If you have the opportunity to position your assets in a way to be useful to you and your family, you should take the opportunity. Make the commitment to do it.

I, like many others, am amazed that I am no longer in my 20s and that the aging process does not comply with how I feel. Still, planning is imperative. Seventy percent of people turning 65 can be expected to use some form of long-term care in their lifetime. We often look to our own knowledge of the past for the information on how to insure our future. But our knowledge is limited. We are not all aware of the various veterans’ benefits or the use of irrevocable trusts and qualified annuities. Working with the right team of professionals on your legal, financial and tax decisions can be the difference between leaving your family empowered and leaving them impoverished. Because so much is at stake, the experts must be updated about our circumstances as the law and financial-planning vehicles are ever-changing.

Contact your estate planning professional and position yourself to take advantage of your options while they remain abundant.

Aimee Griffin is an attorney with the Griffin Firm in Washington, D.C.

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