Planning Ahead for Long-Term Care

By Stephen J. Silverberg
New York Elder Law Attorney

Often we don’t realize how necessary estate planning is until we have a bad experience dealing with a parent or other elderly family member’s incapacity or death. Sometimes it takes this to motivate us to plan for our own long-term care and end-of-life decisions.

Think about how you want to age and how you want to address your end-of-life issues, before you make any moves with your estate plan or insurance coverage. If you have a spouse or a partner, first work independently on your own wishes, and then have a conversation together.

Working with aging parents can also make you think about your planning for long-term care insurance. Start the process when you’re in your 50s. The older you get, the greater chance you have of running out of time to save or of becoming uninsurable. Recent statistics published by AARP show that 52% of  individuals who turn 65 today, will develop some form of severe disability requiring long-term care support. The average lifetime cost of long-term care in retirement tops $250,000.

Next, review your estate plan, given your goals. Many individuals or couples with a plan in place will forget this step, letting documents become out-of-date. If you have no estate plan yet, getting it completed should be a top priority. Your estate planning attorney is experienced at working with clients to understand their wishes and to create a plan that reflects those intentions.

Before executing a plan, you must calculate your total level of wealth, create a list of intended heirs and charitable organization names, and a divorce decree, if applicable. If you have minor children, you must designate guardians to act in your absence.  It is also necessary to decide whether those same people will manage the inheritance for your children or whether you want someone else to assume that responsibility.

Not sure where to start? Call our office at 516-307-1236 for an appointment.

About the Author
Stephen J. Silverberg is nationally recognized as a leader in the areas of estate planning, estate administration, asset preservation planning, and elder law. He is a past president of the prestigious National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), and a founding member and past president of the New York State chapter of NAELA.