BLOOMFIELD, CT - When saving for retirement, most people plan to use the money to travel the world, pursue a hobby or visit family. Unfortunately, a sudden illness or disability or the natural progression of a chronic condition such as diabetes can require long term care that burdens them financially, quickly draining bank accounts, brokerage accounts and retirement funds like IRAs. The reality is that 70% of people turning 65 can expect to use some form of long term care during their lifetime. Ideally, planning for that care should begin many years before it's even considered a remote possibility.
“Long term care shouldn’t mean surrendering to a lifestyle of dreary environments, loneliness and hardship,” said Attorney Henry Weatherby, Founding Principal of Weatherby & Associates, PC in Bloomfield, CT. “It’s possible to plan for a future that promises a quality of life you can enjoy while ensuring the best healthcare possible with minimal financial strain.”
Long term care (LTC) is defined as needing assistance with the activities of daily living, such as transferring, bathing, continence, dressing, toileting and eating. Typically, when you need help with 2 of these 6 activities of daily living, you require long-term care. You may also need LTC if you have a cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer’s disease or other Dementia.
“When I ask a group of people at one of my workshops, ‘what is the first thing that comes to mind if you think of long term care?’ the answer is a nursing home,” said Attorney Weatherby. “Then if I ask the question, ‘where is the last place you want to go if you need Long Term Care?” most people say a nursing home. Preplanning may eliminate the need to ever live anywhere but your own home.”
According to longtermcare.gov, median costs for long term care in the United States in 2015 are:
$400 per day or $12,166 per month for a semi-private room in a nursing home
$5,575 per month for care in an assisted living facility (for a one-bedroom single occupancy unit)
$22 per hour for a home health aide, $20 per hour for homemaker services
Weatherby notes that currently, 69% of the bill for LTC is being paid for by state and federal governments. For instance, the Connecticut Home Care Program for Elders is available to help pay for in-home care services for elders who qualify. However, for baby boomers, the idea of Medicare or Medicaid paying for these costs may be a thing of the past. Federal and some State Governments are creating incentives to encourage consumers to purchase Long Term Care insurance. The Pension Protection Act allows a person to exchange the cash value from a life insurance policy or funds from an existing annuity tax-free to buy LTC insurance. Many of the LTC insurance products made available because of the Pension Protection Act allow for a full return of premium should you not need the coverage. “The most affordable LTC policies should be purchased in your late 50’s, early 60’s,” suggests Weatherby.
Weatherby uses the term Life Care Planning because it transforms an estate plan from a static set of documents into a living, growing, changing entity that is highly flexible and responsive to changes in life and in the law. It bundles together estate planning instruments, legal and advisory services, and health care advocacy assistance to achieve objectives such as:
Determining a client’s current and potential health care and residency needs
Identifying and securing resources for financing those needs, including Medicaid, VA Benefits, insurance and other private and public funding
Qualifying the client for Medicaid and/or VA Benefits
Protecting family assets against claims by Medicaid or health care providers
Creating sources of retirement income for the client for lifestyle and care needs not covered by other resources
Identifying appropriate residence opportunities
Growing currently available resources to meet future needs
Ensuring the client is able to leave an inheritance to their loved ones
“The top 3 threats to retirement funds are taxes, inflation and long term care,” concludes Weatherby. “While we can’t control the first two threats, we can plan for long term care and reduce its impact.”
For over 20 years, the attorneys at Weatherby & Associates, PC have helped Connecticut families set goals and turn them into reality, creating a better, more secure future through estate planning and asset protection strategies to probate, business succession planning and estate administration. Weatherby & Associates, PC takes a close look at the unique needs of every individual, family or business to develop a truly individualized strategy that is sure to achieve their objectives. Visit: www.weatherby-associates.com.