When you contemplate estate planning, your focus is likely on how your estate assets will be distributed after you pass away. Asset distribution certainly should be a pivotal component within your comprehensive estate plan; however, a well drafted estate plan can accomplish much more than just deciding who will receive your assets after you are gone. In fact, your estate plan can help preserve assets while you are alive as well as protect your wishes by incorporating long-term care planning into your overall estate plan. A Murfreesboro estate planning attorney at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby explains why long-term care planning is so important.
Will You Need Long-Term Care?
Unless you have a functioning crystal ball, there is no way to know with certainty whether you will need long-term care (LTC) when you are older. What you can contemplate, however, is the likelihood that you will need some type of LTC services. If you were turning 65 years old in 2023, you would stand a 70 percent chance of needing some type of long-term care service and support in your remaining years. Of the people who do need LTC in the future, about one in three will need nursing home care, 40 percent will need home health care, and about 15 percent will move to an assisted living facility. As of 2023, the average cost of a year in nursing home care in Tennessee is about $90,000 with home health care and assisted living running, on average, $55,000 and $50,000 respectively.
How Will You Pay for Long-Term Care?
Knowing that there is a good chance you will need long-term care services when you are older is not the only reason to include long-term care planning in your estate plan. The other important reason is to ensure that you have a way to pay for LTC if you need it. Although you will likely rely on Medicare to cover the majority of your healthcare expenses as a senior, Medicare will not cover LTC costs nor will most private health insurance policies. You can purchase a separate LTC insurance policy; however, the premiums can be high if you wait until you are older to purchase the policy. For many seniors, the solution is to qualify for Medicaid because Medicaid does cover LTC expenses.
While Medicaid will help pay for long-term care, you must qualify for the program. Because Medicaid is a needs-based healthcare program, applicants cannot have income or assets that exceed the program limits. For many seniors who fail to plan, their assets are valued above the limit, causing them to be denied entirely or forcing them into the Medicaid spend-down program. To ensure that your assets are protected and that you are eligible if you need the benefits offered by Medicaid in the future, include a long-term care planning component in your estate plan now.
Will Your Wishes Be Honored?
The other important benefit to including long-term care planning in your estate plan is to ensure that your wishes will be honored down the road. Although you undoubtedly do not want to end up in a nursing home facility, choosing the facility yourself provides you with a sense of empowerment. You can find licensed nursing home facilities by navigating to the Tennessee Department of Health or the Medicare.gov website. Having input into the facility you wind up in makes the transition easier should it be necessary in the future. In addition, talk to your estate planning attorney about executing advance directives as part of your long-term care plan. Doing so ensures that your wishes will be followed regarding end-of-life medical care and who can make healthcare decisions for you if you cannot make them yourself because of incapacity. Although it may not be easy to address these issues now, you will be glad you did down the road if long-term care is needed.
Contact a Murfreesboro Estate Planning Attorney
If you have additional questions or concerns about including long-term care planning in your estate plan, consult with an experienced Murfreesboro estate planning attorney at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby as soon as possible. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your free appointment.
- Modifying Child Support in Tennessee - February 20, 2024
- The Importance of Funeral Planning within Your Estate Plan - February 15, 2024
- What Can I Do to Help My Estate Avoid Probate in Tennessee? - February 7, 2024