Long-Term Health Care in Florida Estate Planning: A Look at Your Options
Floridians of all ages understand the importance of creating a solid estate plan, including a will, powers of attorney, trusts, and other documents appropriate for their unique family situations. However, many overlook one critical aspect of an estate plan: Long-term health care. Statistics about long-term care in the US from Morningstar, Inc., an online resource for news and information about investments, are telling:
- 52 percent of people turning 65 years old will require some level of long-term health care services during their lifetimes.
- Long-term care costs in 2000 were $137 billion;
- By 2015, long-term health care expenditures rose to $208 billion – an increase of more than 50 percent in just 15 years.
These figures might be shocking, but they should convince you to discuss long-term health care issues with your Pasco County estate planning lawyer. You can also review some basic information on your options and what happens if you do not account for future medical care.
Options for Long-Term Health Care Planning: There are multiple approaches to secure long-term health coverage through various sources, so you will have to assess which would be right for your situation.
- Medicaid: Low income individuals and those 65 years or older may qualify for Medicaid, which covers most types of long-term care. The key is being eligible based upon your income and assets. Some estate planning strategies enable you to reduce your net worth, so long as you do not engage in misconduct by transferring assets within the 60 month look-back period. Note that, upon your death, Medicaid estate recovery rules apply: Officials will come to your estate for repayment of long-term health care services.
- Living Benefits Insurance Policy: Unlike a life insurance policy that pays out to a beneficiary upon your death, you can receive funds from living benefits coverage during your lifetime to pay for long-term care. Through this type of policy, you build cash value by paying in through premiums.
- Asset-Based Long-Term Care Insurance: Some individuals may consider paying for long-term health care by leveraging their own cash or assets. The process works by the insured depositing a lump sum, which must usually be substantial to earn sufficient interest. A policyholder can take money out to pay for medical needs, essentially using the death benefit before death.
- Charitable Remainder Trust: Through this option, you can fund a trust with your own assets and receive distributions to apply to long-term care services during your lifetime. When you pass away, the remaining amount goes to your designated charity. Because you are making a charitable gift, you may also gain advantages in tax treatment.
Discuss Long-Term Health Care with a Florida Estate Planning Attorney
If you do not address future health care issues and costs, there can be drastic financial implications that could compromise your estate plan and administration of your assets after your passing. To learn more about your options, please contact a Dade City estate planning lawyer at The Law Office of Laurie R. Chane. You can schedule a consultation by calling 352-567-0055 or filling out an online request form.