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Is long-term care an issue for Michigan residents?

Michigan residents have many different areas to cover when it comes to constructing a comprehensive estate plan. Most everyone will need a will and a couple of different forms of power of attorney. Some will need to consider trusts, which can be one of the best methods of protecting assets. However, when it comes to estate planning, many people may not even think of one particular area, which can be even more important than all the others: long-term planning.

Because estate plans tend to deal more with the decisions that will need to be made after a person's death, or in the event of a serious incapacitation, long-term planning for a person's elderly years may not be raised in the same discussion. But the decisions that a person needs to make about the possibility of depending on Medicare or Medicaid, or long-term nursing home care, should be involved in the same comprehensive estate plan.

Medicaid planning can be one of the trickiest ways to live out elder years, because the program is reserved for indigent people who cannot afford their own health care. Moreover, as a recent article pointed out, some nursing homes do not accept Medicaid patients, which can leave an elderly person in a position where they have to accept care at a standard that is less than they are comfortable with.

In whatever fashion the estate planner approaches the issue of long-term care, it is important to note that a large number of people will most likely be living into their elderly years, where medical care and medical expenses will begin to play a larger role in life. Although government benefits are there as a safety net, it is always a better option to address what is needed -- and desired -- for each particular person as part of an estate plan.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Never Too Early to Review Long-Term Care Options," Wm. Scott Page, Oct. 23, 2012

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