Mullen and Iannarone, P.C.
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The impact of long-term care costs on estate planning

As people in New York are living longer, there is a greater need for long-term care planning. The average cost of a nursing home can approach $70,000 per year. Without proper planning, it may be easier than most people think to quickly deplete all of their assets. One way for individuals to prepare for health care costs as they get older is to buy a long-term care insurance policy.

It may also be a good idea to go through the process of Medicaid planning. The goal of Medicaid planning is to ensure that an individual or a couple has access to maximum benefits while preserving assets. Other goals include balancing estate planning and taxation issues with asset preservation as well as determining the impact of long-term care costs on future beneficiaries.

As there are asset and income limitations to qualify for Medicaid, it may be a good idea to take an inventory of exempt and non-exempt assets. How assets are held may impact how much a state agency can recover to recoup benefits paid.

With proper planning, it may be possible to have both adequate long-term care as well as adequate asset protection. To protect assets, it may be a good idea to create other plans to hold assets outside of an estate. Legal counsel may be able to help an individual create estate documents or review those that already exist. This may enable an individual to have greater control over his or her her property while alive and have greater control over where it goes after death.

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