Long Term Care
Even if you do not expect to need long-term care, it’s wise to plan ahead so that an emergency, unexpected illness, or injury does not catch you unprepared. And it is never too early to start the planning process.
With prices rising for in-home care as well as assisted living and nursing facilities, creating your long-term plan might seem like a daunting task. However, an experienced long-term care planning attorney could develop a strategy designed to meet your unique needs.
What is long-term care planning?
Long-term care planning covers a range of services and supports to meet your personal care needs as you get older. This can include planning for living arrangements in case you are not able to live independently, determining how to pay for a variety of future needs, and evaluating what public benefits may be available.
For example, long-term care planning attorneys help clients explore options involving:
- Special Assistance and Assisted Living. Assisted living arrangements serve the needs of individuals who need help with everyday activities such as meals, medication management, bathing, dressing, or transportation. Some residents in assisted living facilities may have memory disorders like Alzheimer’s, or they could face challenges with mobility, incontinence, or other issues.
- Medicaid. This joint federal-state program covers nursing home care for individuals who qualify. While it is best to implement a plan well in advance of needing Medicaid benefits, a qualified attorney can assist in attaining benefits in a crisis situation as well.
- Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). PACE is a nonprofit program that provides care for a limited number of Medicaid-eligible persons. This program offers comprehensive health and social services in the home, PACE community day care centers, and nursing homes.
- Community Alternatives Program (CAP). CAP programs provide home and community-based services to qualifying Medicaid recipients who require certain types of care.
What are the three basic levels of long-term care?
When planning for long-term care, there are three basic levels to consider: skilled care, intermediate care, and custodial care.
- Skilled care is around-the-clock care. There is usually a medical need for this level of care, and any treatment required is administered by medical personnel.
- Intermediate care is the intermittent or rehabilitative level of care. Services are often provided by nurses under the supervision of a doctor.
- Custodial care is basic care. This level of care often provides help for individuals needing assistance with everyday activities, including bathing or dressing.
The appropriate level of long-term care is dependent on the individual’s health and overall needs.
What are the alternatives to long-term care insurance?
Long-term care insurance is often used to cover the cost of care, but there are a variety of alternatives to this type of insurance. These options can include a savings account dedicated to long-term care, a tax-advantaged health savings account (HSA), short-term care insurance, critical illness insurance, and various types of annuities. Additionally, Medicaid can help cover long-term care costs for individuals that meet the eligibility requirements.
How do I protect my assets from long-term care costs?
The best way to protect your assets from long-term care costs is to plan ahead. There are various strategies to protect your assets, including:
- Creating a life estate; and
- Establishing an irrevocable trust
The process of protecting assets will look different for everyone, depending on circumstances. It is advisable to consult an attorney to discuss asset protection and create a plan.
Contact A Skilled Attorney Skilled in Long-Term Care Planning
While many people are hesitant to plan so far ahead, it’s never too early to start considering your distant future and long-term care possibilities. A qualified elder law attorney can help guide you through this process. The team at Salines-Mondello Law Firm, PC is experienced in long-term care guidance and ready to advise you about the best options in North Carolina for your financial and family situation. You can count on our attorneys to provide you with comprehensive, compassionate service.
To begin planning for your long-term care and taking steps forward, contact our office at (910) 777-5734 and schedule your first, fully confidential consultation.