Most people underestimate the possibility of needing to stay in a nursing home in the future. Many people entering retirement are still in relatively good health, which makes it easier to feel like good days are ahead, too. However, the risk of a serious medical event has implications for your finances in terms of:
- Your personal wealth
- How your joint finances will affect your spouse
- Your estate plans and intentions to gift things to beneficiaries
While it’s true that someone with limited resources could apply for and likely receive Medicaid quickly, this is a more challenging scenario to estimate for someone with more wealth. It requires ensuring that enough work has been done to set aside funds for long-term care, either through self-pay or a long-term care insurance policy, as well as thinking about what adjustments might be required. If you have a particular fund or set of assets intended for a beneficiary and that gets used for long-term care, for example, you might need to shift to other estate planning strategies.
The lifetime chance that someone who has long term care insurance in place will use their policy is 50%. Those are significant odds. Long-term care financial impacts are hard to estimate since you don’t know what affliction could affect you or a spouse. You also don’t know how long the patient might need treatment since some medical issues can be addressed in weeks or months and then the patient returns to their normal independent life again.
But it’s a risk that’s worth considering as part of your bigger financial plan. Seeing all these pieces and how they fit together into your plan is vital for protecting your interests, so set up a time today to discuss your next steps about fitting possible long-term care into the picture.