Few residents understand the often staggering cost of long-term care, such as a private nursing home, until they are faced with the dilemma first-hand. It is only when they or a loved one is already to the point of needing that care that many people first realize the expense of securing a spot in a quality nursing home. In fact, beyond dictating how assets will be dispersed later, gaining advice and planning preparation for future medical and caretaking needs is one of the most important parts of creating a New York estate plan.
The need for the preparation becomes clear once many realize the cost of long-term care facilities. The latest figures calculated in Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey were recently released showing that the median cost of nursing home care nationwide rose 3.4% last year–to $77,745. Of course, this is only an average from across the country. In our area many quality facilities charge much higher rates, around $140,000-$150,000 per year.
Those costs are much higher than the average family income in many American homes, meaning without proper long-term care planning some families are forced to use up a lifetime of assets to pay for the necessary costs. But if thought is given to these matters ahead of time, then options exists to reasonably provide for these expenses in a coordinated manner that protects family wealth.
For example, all of a family’s assets may be protected ahead of time with the use of a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust (MAPT). These trusts usually have to be created at least five years before the care is needed, so forethought goes a long way in ensuring a positive financial future for families in these situations. An even better option is the purchasing of long-term care insurance–which ultimately provides the most flexibility when seniors reach the point that they need extra care. With this insurance a loved one may have the assets for expensive home-care, without the need to move into a nursing home at all.
However, even if the MAPT and long-term care insurance options do not apply, other choices are available. The “Gift and Loan” Strategy allows one to save part of an inheritance from the costs that Medicaid would usually take while still ensuring that Medicaid pays for the care needed. It is not an ideal choice, but meeting with a professional to discuss its applicability is still much better than facing it alone without any assistance–a visit to a New York Medicaid attorney is invaluable.
Our New York elder law attorneys know that far too many families are faced with the costs of long-term care before they are prepared to absorb them. Planning ahead in these matters often ensures that you or a loved one is allowed to stay at their home when they need extra care and is the difference between passing along a lifetime of assets versus having them eaten up by nursing home costs.
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