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Should I purchase long-term care insurance?

Creating an estate plan is often much more than deciding what property should go to whom. Usually, a person must think about his or her own future in addition to what should happen to the estate. For example: What should happen when you reach an age where you are unable to fully take care of yourself? Should you purchase long-term care insurance?

The answer, as it always is to these sorts of questions, is: It depends. Here are some tips to consider when making this decision:

  1. Long-term care insurance is not as expensive as you may think and you may need it. People who are 65 years old have a life expectancy of 82.7 years and your life expectancy only increases as you age.
  2. The longer you wait, the more long-term care insurance will cost. Consider purchasing long-term care insurance when you are in your 50s or 60s.
  3. Long-term care insurance is not just for nursing homes. It can also cover in-home care expenses or care at an assisted living facility.
  4. Every long-term care insurance policy is different and can vary dramatically on the care and length of time covered. It is very important to read the fine print and speak with an insurance agent about your options.
  5. Check to make sure that your long-term care insurance policy is eligible for Massachusetts' Estate Recovery Exemption. Massachusetts recovers the cost of Medicaid benefits through the sale of a deceased person's home. If, however, the homeowner has a long-term care insurance policy, the home is generally exempted and can be passed on to family members.
  6. Some long-term care insurance policies also work as life insurance policies, providing a death benefit if a person never uses the long-term care benefits.

As you can see, there are many things to consider when you are deciding whether to purchase long-term care insurance. Often, it will come down to your unique financial situation. An elder law and estate planning lawyer can help you sift through the options available for you and ensure that your rights are protected throughout this often-challenging planning process.

Learn more by visiting our webpage on long-term care planning.

Source: Dedham Transcript, "Maria C. Baler: Five facts about long-term care insurance," Maria C. Baler, Dec. 10, 2012

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