The statistics are clear: there’s a good chance that you’re going to need long-term care at some point in your life. This may include a stay in a nursing home or some sort of in-home care, but regardless of the type of care that you may need, your savings are likely to take a hit unless you’ve properly planned to cover these expenses.
Unfortunately, even those who are proactive in engaging in long-term care planning make mistakes that put not only their financial future at risk but also the financial future of their loved ones. If you want to avoid that outcome, you need to know what those mistakes are so that you can avoid them.
What mistakes do people make during the long-term care planning process?
There are a lot of missteps that can be made along the way. This includes each of the following:
- Failing to plan: If you don’t create a plan for your potential long-term care needs, you’re quickly going to give up your savings for what little care you can afford. This means that you might have nothing left over to help support your loved ones once you’re gone. Therefore, you shouldn’t put off creating a long-term care plan.
- Thinking that a basic estate plan has you covered: There’s no doubt that even the most basic estate plan is better than no estate plan at all, but merely creating a will isn’t going to do anything for your long-term care needs. Instead, you need to make sure you have the comprehensive estate plan that you need to address every aspect of your future, including your potential need for long-term care.
- Believing that it’s too early or too late to plan: It’s best to plan for your potential long-term care sooner rather than later, and it’s never too early to put a plan in place. But even if you’re older, there are still ways that you might be able to reduce your assets and your income so that you qualify for MassHealth.
- Neglecting your plan: Even if you’ve created a long-term care plan, you should revisit it from time to time to ensure that it still suits your needs. You might find that over time, you want to change what legal vehicles you use to plan for your long-term care, or you might want to modify the amount of money that you set aside to cover it or increase the amount of protection that you have through an insurance policy. Just make sure you always have a realistic picture of where you’re at with your plan.
- Navigating the law on your own: Even when it seems like there’s no way you’re going to be able to implement an effective long-term care plan, there are legal avenues that you can explore to better position yourself for the future. However, to properly avail yourself of those options, you have to know about them and what they can and can’t do for you. That’s why it’s risky to try to navigate the long-term care planning process on your own, especially if you’re hoping to take advantage of MassHealth.
You don’t have to be alone in your journey to protect your future
We know that thinking about the possibility of ending up in a nursing home or some other long-term care facility can be scary. But with sound planning, you might be able to put your mind at ease by knowing that you’re prepared to secure the kind of long-term care that you want should the need arise.
To make sure you’re covering your bases and fully protecting your future, you might want to think about discussing what you want with an attorney of your choosing. Just be careful when you pick your representation, as not all law firms in the realm of elder law are created equally.