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Long-term care planning will benefit from early action

It's probably true that no one thinks of being one of the many persons who will need an elder law plan for nursing care in those twilight years to come. We all tend to feel invincible, even as retirement becomes a living reality. However, the statistics nationwide, including in Texas, say that most people over 65 will someday need some level or extent of long-term care.

The very rich and the very poor likely don't have to do too much in the way of planning, because the first group can afford any costs that come down the road and still have plenty left; the second group will be supported by Medicaid with no assets to lose. That leaves the vast majority somewhere in the middle or upper-middle economic ranges who will need to plan for nursing home or other types of long-term care. The recommended economic vehicle to protect against losing one's nest egg to long-term care costs is to buy a long-term care insurance policy.

This tool has its drawbacks in being quite expensive and in not knowing precisely the duration of coverage that will be needed in the future. In any event, a person will get the best rates and the best terms by buying such a policy early, even before one's retirement years arrive. Additionally, new kinds of hybrid policies can be drawn with very flexible terms, even providing compensation back to the owner for nursing home costs not needed.

But waiting until a crisis is visible ahead may make it virtually impossible to get coverage. If one acts early enough and obtains the assistance of an elder law attorney, some assets may be preserved without the need for insurance. In fact, the best procedure for long-term care planning here in Texas and for those residing in other states is to have one's financial adviser and elder law attorney combine all of the available and applicable remedies in an effective and efficient plan. However, this approach also will not work unless initiated early enough to put all of the options into place.

Source: bhpioneer.com, "Long-Term Care Insurance", Sept. 4, 2015

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