While everyone needs an estate plan, demographics show that women in particular should take steps to address the matter.
Living Longer & Needing Care
On average, women live five years longer than men. This means women have to face a few realities: (1) they are more likely to require long-term care, and (2) will require care for a longer period of time than their male counterparts.
While the duration and level of long-term care varies from person to person and changes over time, the averages don’t lie. Women need care for approximately 3.7 years while men only require 2.2 years of care. This makes having a plan in place more necessary in order to properly plan for and fund future care.
Laying a Plan
Many people wish to remain in their homes as long as possible even after they are no longer able to fully care for themselves. Advanced health care directives allow you to leave clear instructions as to the amount and type of care you wish to receive when you are no longer able to make decisions. This gives you control over your care when you are unable to make your wishes known and can include instructions to limit end of life medical expenses should that be your wish. Health care directives can be as general or as specific as you desire.
A health care power of attorney or health care surrogate as they are officially known as in New York allows you to designate an individual you trust to make medical decisions for you. This person will have the power over your future care and should not be chosen lightly. Possible long-term care can include receiving part-time home health care assistance, or living in an assisted living facility.
Funding Your Care
Home health care can quickly add up. The national average for a six-hour visit is $114. This means at five days a week, the annual cost is nearly $30,000. Assisted living facilities can be considerably more expensive.
These exuberant costs can lead many people without proper planning to exhaust their entire estate simply paying for care in their later years. There are a number of ways to establish funding options for your future care. One may consider long-term care insurance or financial policies with chronic or critical care riders that will begin paying out when you require care.
Separate funds, specifically laid aside for your care will prevent your friends and family members from having to make important decisions about your finances. The more plans you have place, the easier the transition into care will be for everyone involved.
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