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Minnesota residents: have you thought of long term care planning?

No Minnesota resident knows exactly what the future might hold for them and their loved ones. While there can be many exciting opportunities yet to come, there can also be challenges and risks that may present themselves over time. Accordingly, it is essential for individuals to be prepared for these risks and plan as best they can.

One particular area that needs special consideration is long term care planning. About seven out of ten individuals over the age of 65 will end up needing long term care, and therefore the chances are high that any given person will need to pay for nursing care.

Perhaps the only thing more surprising than the sheer number of individuals who will need long term care is the cost of that care. An average nursing home stay can cost more than $300,000, or between $5,000 and $10,000 per month. What's more, contrary to popular belief, these costs may not be fully covered by health insurance or Medicare.

As a result, individuals are urged to consider their options in long term care planning while they are healthy and able. For some, this may mean a long-term care insurance policy. Those who can obtain low premium plans through their employers may find this option especially appealing.

Individuals should also be aware of the estate planning laws that can impact their decisions. For example, Minnesota recently passed a law permitting a surviving spouse's assets to be taken by the state in order to reimburse the costs from the deceased spouse's care. Laws like this significantly impact the estate planning decisions that need to be made by Minnesota residents. There are also federal laws that impact what amount a person can give to their loved ones, while still qualifying for state assistance.

Ultimately, there is no one right answer in long term care planning. The important thing is for individuals to examine their personal circumstances and have the conversation in order to put these important matters into consideration.

Source: CBS Minnesota, "Is long-term care insurance right for your family?," Esme Murphy, Feb. 24, 2015

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