As medical care gets better, the population’s longevity increases. However, just because someone lives longer does not mean they are ensured to have any quality of living. Many ailments that were previously a death sentence are no longer as serious of a threat—but they are an ailment, nonetheless. Therefore, the downside of our amazing medical technology is that we are essentially keeping people alive longer and prolonging their medical needs. It’s a brutal way to look at it, but the truth tends to be brutal.
The result of this medical advancement is that more people than ever will need long-term care. That number is currently estimated to be over seventy percent of individuals who make it past 65.
We know this too because more people than ever are reaching age of 65 or over. And if more people need long-term care, then we are going to have an issue paying for it. We also know this because we are experiencing the issue now and have been for some time. Long-term care can range from $5,000 to $15,000 per month.
Currently, individuals have three options to pay for care: 1) They can use long-term care insurance. This is a good option, but you must qualify, and you must maintain the premiums. 2) They can pay out of pocket. This is not a good option because most people cannot afford to pay $5k to $10k per month. 3) Lastly, they can use government benefits i.e., Medicaid. This can be a great option but is very restrictive and can be difficult to obtain without proper planning.
Sadly, many individuals face this need for care without a plan. The result is that everything they’ve worked for their whole lives is slowly eroded, until there is nothing left for their loved ones. With many folks “outliving their money”, it is almost impossible to leave a legacy and provide a leg-up to the next generation. Depriving individuals of the ability to leave an inheritance is not only repugnant to the values of this country, but also a sure way to kill the American dream.
As you may suspect, there are ways to avoid these risks by planning ahead. A properly drafted estate plan can ensure that an individual is protected from exploitation and is prepared for the costs of long-term care. The problem with most Americans, is that they have no plan. An estimated sixty percent of Americans have no estate plan in place. This means that sixty percent of the population are in the rising tide with no dingy. This is a scary prospect, not only for the Baby Boomer generation but also for the generations that follow. What will this country look like if sixty percent of the population is drawn out to sea?
The best way to avoid the biggest risks your assets face as you age is to have a proper estate plan in place. Everyone should start with the basics, i.e., General Durable Power of Attorney, Healthcare Power of Attorney, Living Will, and Last Will and Testament, then move on to more advanced asset protection.
Elder Law Attorney