Have You Begun to Plan for the Rising Long-Term Care Costs in the New Year?

The New Year encourages many of us to think about the future. What we want to accomplish for ourselves, our family, our friends, and our legacy.  As we age, it is only natural that our needs, and our resolutions in the New Year, tend to evolve. While many of us may have been focused ten years ago on retirement goals, many Older Americans today finding themselves contemplating a potential need for long-term care in the future.

Unfortunately, the costs of long-term care have steadily increased over the last decade and show no signs of stopping this year. In fact, these costs are up over five percent from last year and over fifty percent since 2004. Regrettably, many Older Americans do not realize that Medicare will not cover the costs of much of the long-term care they may need in the future. As an acute payor system, Medicare is not designed to be able handle the need for this type of care. This means that seniors and their loved ones, should begin to plan for how they will pay for long-term care as soon as possible.

We know that this may not only raise questions for you and your loved ones, but also be confusing. Where should you start this conversation? How do you ensure you can obtain the help you need? What should you focus on? Let us share three key insights that we share with our clients, family, friends, and local community professionals when we are discussing long-term care needs.

What is long-term care? Unfortunately, many of the seniors we speak with do not understand what long-term care really is. While they have a vague understanding that there are nursing homes and assisted facilities in their community, they do not know what it means to need to live in one or the differences between the two. They also believe that, no matter what should happen in the future, they will be able to live out their lives in their home. While this may be true for some seniors, too often, it is not the case. We encourage our senior clients and their loved ones to start learning about the types of long-term care as soon as possible.

Will you need long-term care in the future? More and more studies report that over seventy percent of all Older Americans will need some form of long-term care in the future. Whether it is help with light housework and grocery shopping or 24/7 hands on care and assistance with bathing, the future could hold the need for long-term care assistance. We encourage all of our clients, friends, and family to not wait for a crisis to happen to begin to plan for this potential need in the future.

How do I prepare now? One of the first steps in preparing for a future that could include long-term care is to learn what is available in your community. Are there home health care providers? Are there assisted living facilities nearby? Nursing homes? Are they in close proximity to the hospital that is able to best meet the needs of Older Americans? After assessing what is available in your community, take the time to research the cost of long-term care in your community. You can use the Genworth Cost of Long-Term Care Study that we want to share with you to begin your research on the long-term costs of care in our community.

After these three steps, you can begin to plan forward. We work with seniors and their loved ones everyday who are looking to create a plan to address potential long-term care needs. One of the keys to a successful plan is to ensure it can help you both now and well into the future. We encourage you to contact our office to schedule a meeting to answer your long-term care related questions.

Is It Time to Update Your Estate Planning in the New Year?

The New Year is right around the corner. For most of us, this means spending more time with family, thinking about the future, and setting resolutions. Whether your goal is to improve your health, change your job, or spend more time with your kids, there is not  a one-size-fits-all resolution. Instead, it is about making the changes and improvements you wish to see in your life.


With that said, the one New Year’s resolution that should be on everyone’s list is to check-in on estate planning. If you do not have estate planning right now, your main goal should be to create one. A comprehensive estate plan can protect you and those you love most  in the event of a crisis. Advance Directives, such as the Durable Power of Attorney, can ensure you have someone to make your decisions in the event you are incapacitated. Other testamentary documents, such as a Last Will and Testament, can create your legacy by detailing who you want to inherit from you when you are no longer here.


If you do have estate planning documents in place, the New Year is a great time to re-evaluate them and ensure they can do what you want them to do. Things change over time and your current estate plan may no longer be a true reflection of your wishes for yourself, your family, and your legacy. Let us highlight a few areas that you may need to revisit in your estate plan in the coming year.


  1. Personal Updates. Things change in our lives. There may be, at any time, births, deaths, re-marriages, divorces, and adoptions. Your estate plan needs to be able to contemplate all of these changes. There may come a point, however, when your estate plan needs to be updated to reflect a current understanding of how you wish to create your legacy. Do not wait to speak with your attorney about your personal updates to ensure that your estate plan reflects your wishes.


  1. Financial Updates. Your finances may also change at any time. For most of us, our goal is to ensure that our spouse, children, and other family members are protected from any form of crisis. This may include leaving them with enough money so that they do not have to worry about the future. Make sure that your estate plan is updated to reflect your current financial structure. Do not wait to talk to your estate planning attorney about how you can structure your finances through your planning to ensure that your family is protected now as well as able to create a legacy for the future.


  1. Legal Updates. In addition to your personal and financial changes, do not forget that the law may have changed since you created or last updated your estate plan. Ask your estate planning attorney to keep you abreast of changes that could impact you and your legacy. Beyond these updates, make time during the year to routinely meet with your attorney to ensure your plan is not impacted by changes to the law.


We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Do not wait to contact us to discuss your estate planning goals as well as the legacy you want to leave to your family. We look forward to talking to you now and in the New Year.

Practice Areas