Elder Law and Long-Term Care Insurance
Elder Law Elements
Are you a mature American (i.e., age 65 or older), do you care about someone who is, or do you anticipate becoming a mature American yourself one day? If so, then, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, you are in good company. In 1960, there were nearly 17 million mature Americans. Today, there are some 40 million mature Americans.
What is Elder Law?
Generally speaking, Elder Law can be defined as the holistic application of general legal principles to the specific emotional, logistical and financial needs of mature Americans. Many mature Americans are concerned with two fundamental threats to their dignity: (1) becoming incapacitated, and thereby losing control to the court system over their personal, health care and financial decision; and then (2) running out of money due to the catastrophic costs of long-term care, and ending up on welfare. Fortunately, these threats may be minimized, or even avoided, through properly coordinated legal and financial planning.
As the number of birthday candles increases on your birthday cake, so do the odds that you will become incapacitated due to an injury or illness. Whether incapacity strikes suddenly, as with an accident or acute illness, or gradually, as with Alzheimer’s, the consequences are the same. Either you will have appointed the back-up decision-makers of your own selection through proper legal plans or, by default, the court system must step in to appoint them for you ... under the ongoing supervision of the court. Note: This default approach will employ at least three lawyers and can be rather expensive and invasive of your privacy. Accordingly, consider this default the lawyer full-employment program.
According to commonly cited statistics, if you are single, odds are about 50 percent that you will need long-term care. If you are age 65 and married, odds are about 75 percent that you or your spouse will need long-term care. The average nursing home stay is 2.5 years.
The key to proper long-term care planning is to plan now rather than to react later. There are numerous legitimate strategies to preserve more of your assets, but only if do not procrastinate until it is too late.
No one relishes the notion of paying insurance premiums of any kind. After all, you can pay and pay and pay ... and never collect on a claim. If you are fortunate.
Long-Term Care Insurance
Fortunately, an appropriate Long-Term Care insurance (LTCi) policy can be designed to fit almost any budget. Most LTCi policies share some common features you should know, to include the following:
Caveat Emptor! is Latin for Let the Buyer Beware. With all of the companies selling LTCi, this is an appropriate warning. When shopping for an appropriate LTCi policy, remember that financial strength is the key consideration. As with any form of insurance, the policy is only as solid as the ability of the insurance company to pay your claim. Check on the financial strength and reputation of the insurance company before you sign on the dotted line.
This publication does not constitute legal, accounting or other professional advice. Although it is intended to be accurate, neither the publisher nor any other party assumes liability for loss or damage due to reliance on this material.
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