As we age, our need for medical care increases. While some Californians are fortunate enough to obtain this care and remain at home, others need more extensive long-term care such as the assistance of a nursing home. Regardless of the extent of care needed, such treatment can be extremely costly.
Retirement savings that took decades to build can quickly be eaten into by these expenses, and others find that their savings simply aren't enough to meet their needs. This is why individuals should consider government benefits that may be helpful to them as they age. Qualifying for these benefits may play an important role in estate planning.
Medicaid is one of the most beneficial government programs when it comes to healthcare, but it has income and asset limitations. Therefore, those who have significant assets may find themselves disqualified. However, estate planning tools exist to ensure that an estate can retain assets while reducing countable income for Medicaid qualification purposes. If done correctly, this means an individual may be able to access these government benefits while retaining assets to leave to loved ones.
Long-term care insurance is another option to help cover medical needs. While this option may make it easier for an individual to retain assets later in life with the intent of passing those assets on through an existing estate plan, these insurance plans are not always a viable option. They can be costly, and sometimes the benefits are too limited to meet an individual's needs.
Planning for long-term care can be one of the most challenging and stressful aspects of estate planning. After all, these long-term care costs can be as expensive as $40,000 a year. However, by working closely with a skilled estate planning and elder law attorneys, Californians can develop a plan that works to meet their needs while allowing them to retain as many assets as possible.