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Long term care planning can prevent financial problems in future

As members of generations continue to live longer, it is becoming more likely senior citizens will need some type of long-term care. In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found about 70 percent of those who reach age 65 will need some form of long-term care, lasting an average of three years. And this medical care can be expensive.

According to the 2013 Cost of Care Survey, conducted by financial security company Genworth, a private room in a nursing home costs an average of $83,950 per year. A semi-private room averages $75,405 per year. Additionally, those who choose to hire a full-time home health aide can expect to spend an average of $44,479 per year. And these costs continue to rise, as they have risen up to 24 percent in the last five years.

Many believe Medicare will cover their expenses, but this is not true. The fact of the matter is that in many cases the elderly individual will have too much value in assets to qualify for Medicaid or to receive substantial enough benefits to pay for his medical needs. Thus, the aging party may have to pay the majority of the bill himself.

However, a Minnesota estate planning attorney can help an individual carefully develop a plan that transfers assets out of the estate and allows the individual to qualify for as much government assistance as possible. Thorough planning and the careful drafting of certain legal documents may allow cash and nonexempt property to become exempt, thus permitting the individual to obtain the care he needs while still protecting his assets for the future of his family.

Long term care planning is extremely important, but often overlooked in estate planning. By seeking help from a competent attorney, an individual and his family can feel comfortable that their health needs and financial futures are in the best hands possible.

Source: San Antonio Express-News, "Start planning for long-term care costs," Nick Labarbera, Nov. 12, 2013

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