Crucial Elements to Include in a Long-Term Care Plan Says Elder Law Attorney Andrew Hook



Hook Law Center (formerly Oast & Hook)

Hook Law Center (formerly Oast & Hook)

Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) January 12, 2016 – While most people would like to live a long life, not everyone is financially prepared for it, especially if long-term care is needed.

According to personal finance experts, within each person’s budget, money should be allocated toward a long-term care plan. In this way, an individual can develop a strategy to assist with daily living activities in the event of becoming infirm.

Each day ten thousand baby boomers reach the age of 65, and approximately 70 percent of Americans will ultimately require long-term care services. There are important factors to consider when establishing a long-term care plan. If a retiree is a homeowner, thought must be given to whether the house will be sold, and the sales proceeds used to fund retirement. If the retiree intends to continue living in the home, then there may be ways to modify the home so that it is more senior-friendly.

“In order to ensure that a retiree’s assets are protected in case long-term care is needed, it is important to start planning early,” said Andrew H. Hook, a Virginia elder law attorney with Hook Law Center, with offices in Virginia Beach and northern Suffolk. “An elder law attorney can help determine a retiree’s legal rights, and assist with tax planning to avoid payment of any unnecessary taxes.”

Although many people say that they would like to retire in a warm climate, most people end up aging in the home in which they had their family. This process of aging in place could mean that an entryway may need to be modified so that it is wheelchair-accessible, or a bathroom may have to be remodeled to make it usable by a handicapped person. Such changes can be expensive, and require careful planning and preparation.

In addition, retirees need to plan for their mode of transportation, if they are unable to drive themselves in their neighborhood. Transportation is frequently cited as the second-highest expense in a long-term care plan, after rent and mortgage.

It is also important to have a strong support network during old age. This can include family members, who can help with care and moral support. Seniors may also wish to have a power of attorney, who could be a relative, friend or an attorney, who is chosen by the retiree to manage finances and health issues, including payment of bills and determining what kind of medical care the retiree should receive if the retiree is no longer able to make such decisions.
Furthermore, if the retiree has many assets to spend down or lose in the event of infirmity, then it may be wise to employ an elder law attorney, who can help ensure that the retiree receives the state and federal benefits to which they are entitled. A social network is also helpful in removing some of the isolation felt by many elderly people.

Moreover, it is imperative that the retiree has funds that have been earmarked for long-term care, such as in a skilled nursing facility, which can be expensive. While Medicare offers few options for coverage, Medicaid has income and asset limits. One option is to purchase long-term care insurance, which would cover the cost of long-term medical care, such as in a hospital or nursing home, for an extended period of time, which is normally more than 90 days. The ideal time to create a long-term care plan is prior to a decline in health.