Have you thought about the need for future long-term care?

An often-overlooked yet vital area of estate planning deals with the issue of long-term care.

Typically, when one thinks about estate planning, it is in the context of drafting a will, creating a trust or passing along a particular asset to a loved one. Many people don't think that estate planning has any relevance other than handling property issues after we pass away, but there are key components of estate planning that can be extremely beneficial when it comes to health care decisions and financial responsibilities (through the use of health care proxies and powers of attorney), and the possible need for long-term medical care.

According to Census figures released by the U.S. government, the fastest-growing segment of America's population is the so-called "super-elderly" (those over the age of 85). Over 50 percent of people in that age demographic are receiving some form of long-term care, be it in the form of in-home assistance, supervised day treatment, management of a chronic condition or residential care, and it is estimated that as many as 6 out of every 10 people will need long-term assistance at some point in their lives due to illness, injury or incapacitation. Depending on the level of care provided, an in-home, part-time care provider in Florida could easily charge from $10 to $50 per hour for assistance, and residential care facilities like reputable nursing homes are often more than $50,000 a year per patient.

Such extreme costs add up quickly, and can easily drain the coffers of someone who worked their entire life to finance their retirement and leave a nest egg for their loved ones. There are federal and state benefit programs like Medicaid to help pay for this care, but it is typically limited to those who demonstrate a financial need. That is where the key concepts behind long-term care planning come into play.

For example, did you know it was possible to, through the use of thoughtful gifts, transfers and well-structured trusts (like special needs trusts and others), for the person in need of care to protect assets for the benefit of his or her spouse and family and maintain an expected standard of living while still qualifying for necessary government assistance? Of course, other options, like working with a financial planner to set aside investments specifically for financing long-term care or purchasing long-term care insurance, are also possibilities for some.

The best long-term care plan for you is one that is developed in concert with an experienced estate planner who understands the realities of your financial situation, the expenses involved in long-term care and whether it will be possible to meet your asset protection goals. To learn more about Florida estate planning from a skilled estate planning attorney, contact Korshak and Associates, P.A. You can reach the firm toll-free at 800-587-2470 or send them an email; they have office locations in both Orlando and Casselberry for your convenience.