As we’ve discussed previously on this blog, your potential need for long-term care is significant. Those who end up needing this care, including those who wind up being placed in a nursing home, can incur significant expenses, too. If you’re unprepared to address these costs, then the bulk of your hard-earned estate can be eaten away, leaving you with little, if anything, to leave to your loved ones.
While effective estate planning can help you ensure that you have the resources that you need to cover your long-term care costs while protecting your assets as much as possible, far too many individuals try to navigate the process on their own. This is a risky endeavor, and one that could leave you with an outcome that you never intended.
The risks of planning for your long-term care needs on your own
A quick Internet search will reveal numerous self-help guides pertaining to estate and long-term care planning. Though it might be tempting to utilize these resources as a way to save time and money, going this route probably isn’t your best option. Here are just some of the risks that you might see if you try to address these matters on your own:
- Failure to comply with statutory requirements: If you’re going to create estate planning documents that allow you to qualify for MassHealth, then you have to make sure that those vehicles are legally sufficient and legally valid. Unfortunately, many of the references that you find online are lacking. And one seemingly minor omission could leave you and your estate without the protection that you want.
- Lack of options: Estate planning for your long-term needs is a nuanced process. But it’s also customizable to suit your needs. Therefore, in order to make the fully informed decisions that are right for you, you have to have a thorough understanding of your options. You probably won’t get that complete picture of what you can do under your circumstances by using self-help guides.
- Lack of completeness: If you want to make sure that you’re protecting your potential long-term care costs while also protecting your assets as much as possible, you need to have a complete estate plan that addresses all of your needs. But turning to the Internet may leave your estate plan with gaps that put you, your estate, and your loved ones at risk.
- Lack of clarity: By piecing together advice from various online resources, you may end up piecing together an estate plan that is contradictory or otherwise leaves others wondering what you intended by creating certain estate planning documents. This could put your ability to cover long-term care costs at risk, but it can also leave your family unsure of what to do with your assets when the time comes to distribute them. This can lead to legal challenges that are more costly to your estate, which you probably never anticipated.
Consider seeking the legal help that you need now
Too many people put off estate planning for too long. When it comes to covering your potential stay in a nursing home and other long-term care needs, this procrastination can leave you without the protection that you need and want.
That’s why now is the time to act to protect yourself, your estate, and your loved ones. And if you want to do it right, then you won’t turn to the Internet and other do-it-yourself resources. Instead, you’ll seek out the professional help that is oftentimes necessary to ensure that you’re creating the holistic, comprehensive, and legally valid estate plan that you need.