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How to Plan for Long Term Care

(Partially taken from LongTermCare.gov -US Health and Human Services)

WHAT IS LONG TERM CARE?
In the year 2000, almost 10 million people needed some form of long-term care in the United States. Of this population, 3.6 million (37%) were under age 65 and 6 million (63%) were over age 65 (Roger & Komisar, 2003). Recent research suggests that most Americans turning age 65 will need long-term care at some point in their lives. This section of the website provides basic information so you can begin to think about how you will handle the need for long-term care. Your path will be unique to you, and based on your preferences and circumstances.

Many people think the phrase “long-term care” refers to an insurance policy. While insurance may be part of your strategy, long-term care encompasses everything from long-term services and supports and finances, to where you will live and how you will navigate the myriad of legal, family, and social dynamics along the way.

Long-term care is a range of services and supports you may need to meet your personal care needs. Most long-term care is not medical care, but rather assistance with the basic personal tasks of everyday life, sometimes called Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), such as:

HOW MUCH CARE WILL YOU NEED?

· Bathing
· Dressing
· Using the toilet
· Transferring (to or from bed or chair)
· Caring for incontinence
· Eating

The duration and level of long-term care will vary from person to person and often change over time. Here are some statistics (all are “on average”) you should consider:
· Someone turning age 65 today has almost a 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care services and supports in their remaining years
· Women need care longer (3.7 years) than men (2.2 years)
· One-third of today’s 65 year-olds may never need long-term care support, but 20 percent will need it for longer than 5 years

WHAT ARE THE COSTS OF CARE?
Below are some national average costs for long-term care in the United States (in 2016). Average costs for specific states are also available.
· $225 a day or $6,844 per month for a semi-private room in a nursing home
· $253 a day or $7,698 per month for a private room in a nursing home
· $119 a day or $3,628 per month for care in an assisted living facility (for a one-bedroom unit)
· $20.50 an hour for a health aide
· $20 an hour for homemaker services
· $68 per day for services in an adult day health care center

A FULLY FUNDED REVOCABLE LIVING TRUST AVOIDS LIVING PROBATE
One of the advantages of a revocable living trust is that it can avoid a living probate. When you set up a revocable living trust, if you change the name on the titles of your assets from your name to the name of your trustee (which is usually you), you are “funding” your trust. If you have fully funded your trust (changed all the titles) and you become unable to conduct business, there is no reason for a living probate because you do not own any assets in your own name. Your successor trustee, someone hand-picked by you, can automatically step in without court interference and manage your financial affairs—including selling or refinancing assets to help pay for your care—for as long as needed.

A fully funded living trust is much more effective than a durable power of attorney. For example:
· A power of attorney may not be accepted by banks and other financial institutions, especially if it’s old, is deemed too limited or too broad, or is not on their own form. By contrast, ownership of trust assets by the trustee must be honored.
· The person to whom you give this power (your agent) could become disabled or die. If you have not named a successor, a living probate may be the only solution. With a trust, even if all the successors you name are unavailable to serve, a trustee can be appointed under the terms of the trust.
· If you own a business, a power of attorney must contain very specific instructions for running the business. But if it is owned by your living trust, the successor trustee will have no problem stepping and running the business, or hiring someone if he/she is not qualified or licensed to do so.
· A durable power of attorney ends at your death, but your trust can continue after you die to provide for the care of your loved ones.

A living trust lets you set the criteria to define your disability, including certification by two physicians or a panel of people that you pre-select. You can also name the people who are to be taken care of in the event of your disability, and prioritize the names in the event funds become limited. The court may still need to officially appoint a guardian for your care, but you can make your preference known.

Thomas Walters Estate Planning builds lasting relationships with our clients based on the highest standards of integrity and professionalism. We help our clients customize plans that meet their unique needs, concerns, and goals. We compassionately assist families after the loss of a loved one. We believe that a well thought out and professionally developed plan will provide peace of mind making transitions for generations stress free and cost efficient.

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