We’ve seen almost every mistake imaginable. Transfers of property, questionable financial products, botched applications for Medicaid or Veterans’ benefits. From the best outcomes to the worst and everything in between. When people are confronted with a long-term care emergency, they panic. They’ll take advice from anyone and everyone and often further complicate their problem by listening to bad advice from people who have don’t have the same interests as their family. Whether it’s a county caseworker, an attorney or financial planner with limited experience in this field, or a know-it-all neighbor, inaccurate or general advice not specifically tailored to your situation is not only useless, but can further complicate the problem.
Long-Term Care Insurance Mistakes
Long-term care insurance might be a great tool to leverage your money to ease the burden of paying for long-term care. We often see policies where the daily benefit amount is adequate given the current costs of care. If you don’t plan on needing care for 10, 20 or even 30 years, however, you need to make sure the daily benefit grows accordingly. If not, you’ll need to make other plans to pay for the rising costs of long-term care. And don’t wait too long, because by the time you reach the age where you are think about long-term care, your health and your age may make the cost of insurance prohibitive. Lastly, be aware that insurance companies are in no hurry to pay claims and we’ve seen several instances when claims took far too much time and effort to be paid out.
We meet with many clients who have already mistakenly transferred assets to their children. These gifts can be catastrophic for a variety of reasons. First, Medicaid assesses an ineligibility period based on the value of the gift. If the gift has already been sold (or the money has been spent), the parents are in a bind. In addition, people often gift assets that when properly gifted, could have been exempt. While gifting is often a part of an emergency long-term care plan, it needs to be supervised by an elder law attorney who understands the rules and can work within them efficiently.
Don’t Have a Plan” Mistake
The biggest mistake you can make in your long-term care planning is the one we see most often: procrastination. Planning for long-term care can be done with a minimum amount of stress if done in advance. If you wait until it’s an emergency, your anxiety level is sure to rise. Working with a team like AlerStallings, you can make sure that all of your concerns are addressed and that as much of your estate is protected as possible. Give us a call, make an appointment, or come to one of our events to learn how to avoid these big mistakes and how to get started planning for long-term care.