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Long-term care important part of retirement planning

Many individuals in Texas and throughout the nation are retiring with expectations of living at least 20 to 30 more years. While this is positive news, it does require many people to consider how they will support themselves financially in the future when their physical abilities have diminished. The country's Department of Health and Human Services reported that those citizens over age 65 will likely need some type of long\-term care during their lifetimes.

Long-term care may include in-home care, an adult day care, an assisted-living facility or a nursing home. Studies show that a private room at a nursing home is over $7,500 a month. Arranging in-home care can even cost over $3,500 a month. All the long-term care options are expensive and the costs are on the rise.

There are government programs that assist with long-term care, such as Medicare and Medicaid. However, Medicare will only pay for limited care and Medicare requires that all assets be exhausted before one can qualify. This option would leave a surviving spouse with few remaining resources, so financial experts recommend some type of long-term care insurance. Most policies require that someone need assistance with two daily living activities, such as dressing, eating or bathing, before he or she receives benefits. However, these policies are becoming more expensive and increasingly more difficult to find.

Other alternatives are being offered, such as asset-based long-term care insurance. An individual deposits money with an insurer and benefits are paid when needed. If the policy is canceled, the money can be returned. Another option is a living benefit product, which combines long-term care with life insurance. Others offer annuities to help cover the cost of care.

Long-term care is an issue most Texas residents ignore. However, it is a necessary part of an effective estate and retirement plan. Experienced elder law attorneys can provide guidance on establishing a long-term care plan that is most beneficial to their clients.

Source: kiplinger.com, "Don't Let Long-Term Care Costs Ruin Retirement", Jared M. Elson, April 20, 2017

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