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Long-term care could rise to the top of estate planning concerns

The end of one year and the beginning of another probably has many of our Michigan readers thinking of what options are best for them when it comes to financial decisions. As our nation's leaders spend the beginning of the year working toward trying to figure out how much each of us should be paying in taxes, they are also working on changes to some government benefits, which could include Medicaid and Medicare. When the dust finally settles on these issues, our Michigan readers will probably want to make some tweaks to their long term planning, and one recent article has suggested that it may be time for many to consider long-term care insurance.

As a crucial, but often overlooked, part of estate planning, long-term care planning has evolved in recent years, arguably in more ways than other parts of an estate plan. That is because our nation's looming fiscal problems make it all but certain that long-running government programs, like Medicare, will be seeing some changes sooner rather than later. With those changes comes the added urgency in finding ways to plan for things like long-term nursing home care without depending on government assistance.

A long-term care insurance policy can be accounted for in a comprehensive estate plan much like a life insurance policy can. Many people, especially those who have dependents who would be at a severe financial loss without them, purchase life insurance policies with the main goal being to provide a financial cushion should any type of unexpected tragedy occur. While long-term care isn't quite the same, it is in one respect - no one really knows when they might need to be admitted to an assisted-care facility, but, if the need does arise, it can be good to know that you have already planned for that contingency. And, with our nation's population getting older every year, many of our readers can be assured that they are more likely than not to need long-term care at some point in their elder years.

As our nation's laws change, some of our Michigan readers may need to make changes to their estate plans, and others won't. But, for those who left out a long-term care option in their plan, it is probably time to review that oversight and consider the various options.

Source:, "13 money tips for 2013," Jill Schlesinger, Dec. 31, 2012

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