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St. Paul residents: have you planned for long-term care?

It is not the most pleasant of thoughts for St. Paul residents to think about how their elder years will be lived out in the event they need to depend on others for assistance. Most individuals enjoy their independence, and it can be frightening to think of what life would be like without this freedom.

Not only can it be emotional to think about the loss of independence in those circumstances, it can be troubling to think of the high costs of long-term care and how the individual will afford paying for a nursing home, assisted living facility or other care arrangement. Nursing homes can cost tens of thousands of dollars per year, for example, assisted living facilities and home health aides. Making matters worse, simply purchasing long term care insurance may not be an effective option as eligibility requirements have become stricter over the past few years, while premiums have risen.

Fortunately, through long-term care planning, individuals can remove the financial uncertainty that exists and come up with a plan that provides for their potential needs in the future. The first step in this process is deciding what amount needs to be covered for future expenses, which involves projecting what the costs will be in the future of a particular care option and how long the person anticipates living with that care option.

After deciding this amount, individuals can then look at the amount of income they will have in the future. For instance, individuals can assess what they will receive through means like Social Security and pension or other retirement benefits. Whatever gap remains between the estimated expenses and the estimated revenues can be filled in through savings or long-term care insurance.

Ultimately, each individual's circumstances will be different. Accordingly, by working with an estate planning attorney, individuals can figure out how to best plan for long term care in their individual situation.

Source: Kiplinger, "Options for covering long-term-care costs," Kimberly Lankford, March 2014

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