No one likes to think about how to prepare for the possibility of needing help with daily life. When meeting with most clients, one of their least favorite things to talk about is when they might need help with long term care related issues such as bathing, eating and being able to perform their basic daily needs. It’s a shame this topic is so difficult to discuss because a 2015 Medicare study suggests at least 70% of people over age 65 will need long-term care services at some point in their lives. How could it be that something with such a high likelihood of happening goes completely unplanned for? Like a lot of things in financial services, part of our ability to help clients be successful is to start the conversation. This article is an attempt to start the conversation for you on long-term care.
I encourage everyone to become educated in long-term care. Unfortunately, people don’t get this education unless they experience it firsthand with a family member or loved one. The lesson they often learn from is seeing how devastating long-term care can be to your total financial picture when you haven’t saved or planned properly. Unfortunately, there’s no central resource to get a great understanding of the programs and planning that families endure when preparing for a long-term care crisis. Instead, people come into the office after going through an experience with their parents or loved one now understanding the tremendous financial undertaking that is long-term care.
Preparing for a long-term care situation
Step 1. There are some people who are eligible for special programs like Veterans Aid. If you or your spouse was in the Armed Forces, we encourage you to look into any long-term care benefits that may be available to you. Here is a website you can go to so that you can learn more.
Step 2. Do a thorough review of all of your estate planning documents. What you really want to do here is make sure you understand what your documents say. I can’t tell you how often people come in with their very expensive, customized estate planning documents and they have no clue what’s in them. You need to understand what your estate plan documents say so that your wishes can be honored in the event that you’re incapacitated or unable to manage your own finances. There’s a lot of stuff in the planning process to understand and you want to be familiar with it so you can prepare your family or loved ones who will be executing the plan. They need to know what they’re stepping into and what your situation looks like.