Written by Taylor Emshoff, Staff Accountant
One of the most important factors to consider when developing your financial and retirement plans is how to prepare for long-term care services in the event of a chronic illness or disability. However, this piece of the planning process is often ignored because many people don’t believe they will ever experience an illness or disability which would make it necessary for them to rely on a third party to meet their health or personal needs. Unfortunately, most people first recognize the importance of long-term care planning retrospectively, usually at the point in time when they or a loved one needs long-term care services.
According to the National Clearinghouse for Long Term Care Information, on average, a person who is currently 65 years old will need approximately three years of long-term care service and support before the end of their life. In many cases, these services aren’t covered by health insurance programs or Medicare. It’s no secret that these services can be very expensive. Because the out-of-pocket costs of long-term care services are often more than the average person can pay using personal income and savings, determining how you will finance these services is an essential component of the financial and retirement planning process.
Part of your long-term care planning process should also include discussions with family and loved ones to express your feelings on how your care is to be carried out in the event that you can no longer speak for yourself. It is recommended that you appoint an official “decision maker” who will be responsible for making decisions on your behalf that are consistent with your wishes. In addition, a living will and a medical power of attorney are key planning documents that can help you describe the type of care you want. These documents should also include the name of the person you want to make decisions on your behalf.
Meeting with a qualified financial professional, discussing your long-term care wishes with your loved ones, and researching alternative living options are easy ways to get started with your personal long-term care plan. By starting early, you can help prevent the emotional and financial strain that could fall to your loved ones in the event that you are no longer able to care for yourself.
Have you taken the first steps towards making a long-term care plan? If so, how prepared are you? Click here to test your Long Term Care Planning IQ.
If you are interested in learning more about how to create a comprehensive long-term care plan, please give HBE Becker Meyer Love LLP a call today at (402) 423.4343. Our team of experienced professionals can clearly define and recommend planning options that are in line with your ultimate goals and wishes.