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The perils of forgetting about long-term care in an estate plan

Many of our Michigan readers may think that all of their estate planning needs will be met once they have a will, a trust and the appropriate power of attorney forms. While these instruments are vital to a good, comprehensive estate plan, there is another aspect that needs to be considered - long-term planning for care in advanced age or poor health.

A recent article noted that there are a variety of reasons why people may overlook the need to plan for how they will pay for care if the need for an assisted living arrangement arises. Some people may simply take for granted that their children and other relatives will care for them if need be. Others just can't justify the expense of putting aside funds for long-term care when there is no guarantee that such care will be needed.

However, with America's aging population and advances in medical technology, people are living longer. That is a good thing, but there is no denying the fact that the result is more senior citizens among the populace, and these are the very people who are the most likely to require long-term nursing home care at some point in their lives.

Some Michigan residents may think that Medicare will cover their medical expenses once they reach the required age threshold. This may be true in some situations, but many people have too much in assets to qualify for those government benefits, and therefore they will be required to foot the bill. Anyone who has the foresight to plan ahead for long-term care will already have a payment mechanism in place if the need arises - thereby ensuring that bills don't pile up and that they are effectively protecting assets for future generations.

Source: WUSF News, "Planning for Long-Term Care," Lottie Watts, Feb. 5, 2014

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