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Horizon Elder Law & Estate Planning Blog

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Are You at Risk for Needing Long-term Care?

Planning for retirement can be tricky. It is impossible to know the future; therefore, you cannot know for sure if you or your spouse may need long-term care. While there are a few factors that might give you an indication of whether you might be at risk of needing long-term care, you are taking a gamble if you assume you will not need nursing home care or other long-term care. A California long term planning attorney can work with you to prepare for the worst-case scenario while you continue to have a positive outlook at hope for the best.

Factors That Could Increase Your Risk of Needing Long-term Care

Several factors to consider when assessing your risk of needing long-term care are:

  • Family Health History — Some conditions are genetic. Therefore, if your parents or grandparents have certain health conditions, you might develop those health conditions as well. However, if your family members typically live well into their 80s or 90s with very few health problems, you might follow in their footsteps. Your doctor can give you an idea of how your family’s health history could impact your future health.
  • Your Lifestyle — Your lifestyle now and in the future has a huge impact on your risk of needing long-term care. Eating a healthy well-balanced meal and exercising can improve your health and fitness. While there are never any guarantees, maintaining a healthy lifestyle decreases the risk of long-term care.
  • Health Conditions — If you currently have high blood pressure, heart disease, COPD, high cholesterol, diabetes, or other chronic health conditions, you might be at a higher risk for long-term care in the future. Working with your physician, following a treatment plan, and making lifestyle changes could reduce your risk.
  • Family Situation — The need for long-term care also depends on your family situation. If you have a spouse or relative who can care for you at home, your risk of needing long-term care could be lower. However, at some point, your family might not have a choice but to consider an assisted living facility or nursing home if they are unable to provide adequate care and supervision because of your health or medical condition.

Preparing for Long-term Care

Long-term care is a reality for many seniors. Since you cannot know for sure whether you might need long-term care, it is best to assume you need long-term care and make provisions in your estate plan to cover the expense of long-term care. Nursing home care and assisted living facilities are expensive. Medicare does not cover the cost of long-term care, nor does a health insurance policy. A common option for many individuals is Medicaid.

Medicaid pays for long-term care; however, you must qualify for Medicaid benefits. If your financial resources exceed the eligibility threshold, you may not receive benefits. In some cases, Medicaid pays for the care, but it places a lien on your assets. 

Medicaid planning involves creating a plan that protects your assets while allowing you to qualify for Medicaid benefits. You may need to transfer property to your spouse or place your income and property in an irrevocable trust. However, Medicaid has strict rules and a lookback period for transfers of assets. You need to work with an experienced attorney who understands Medicaid rules and laws.

Contact a California Elder Law Attorney to Discuss Plans for Incapacity

Planning for incapacity is never an easy topic to discuss. However, early planning can protect your property and ensure you have the means to pay for long-term care if it becomes necessary. 

A California elder law attorney can review the various options available to pay for long-term care, including long-term care insurance policies, Medicaid Trusts, comprehensive estate plans, and other estate planning tools. Schedule a consult with a California elder law attorney. Our attorneys can explain the pros and cons of each option to help you decide what is best for you and your family.

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