Long-term care planning may be one of the most important things you do in your life. Long-term care planning, or “elder law” as it is commonly called, is an area of law including estate planning, Social Security benefits, retirement benefits, and general planning for the latter part of life. In today’s reality of rapidly rising healthcare and assisted-living costs, long-term care planning with an attorney is necessary to position yourself so that you can take advantage of available personal and public funds to ensure you are cared for throughout the entirety of your life. Working with an attorney well-versed in long-term care planning can be the difference between enjoying retirement or being broke a few years into retirement. It’s never too early to consult an attorney regarding your long-term care planning.
Since 2008, the Law Office of Carey Thompson, PC has helped numerous clients in the Fort Worth and Tarrant County area manage and plan for all aspects of long-term care. The Law Office of Carey Thompson, PC is unique in that its lawyers focus on the specific practice areas that make up long-term care planning, rather than focusing on only one or two areas. As a result, you can expect exceptional service from our attorneys that can only be provided by being fully informed about estate planning, Social Security, and Medicaid. If you are worried about planning for your future, please contact our offices as soon as possible for a free consultation.
Managing and Planning for Long-Term Care
Costs associated with long-term care make up the substantial portion of your spending in your later years. Long-term care includes care that you may receive at home if you are capable to remain independent, care in an assisted-living home, and care in a nursing home. Even if you remain fully independent throughout your entire life, medical costs associated with prescription medications, doctors’ visits, and medical procedures will grow exponentially. Thus, there is normally a significant gap in an individual’s budget when considering long-term care. There are three primary methods of planning for the expenses of long-term care and the increased medical expenses later in life: personal savings, insurance, and government assistance.
Some individuals may choose to fund their long-term care through personal savings. For most, personal savings comes in the form of investments made throughout an individual’s lifetime either through taxable accounts or tax-advantaged accounts. When planning for long-term care, you must consider any existing accounts as well as any potential future accounts. Some individuals have medical savings accounts while others may have health savings accounts which are newer and more common. Additionally, retirement accounts such as 401Ks and IRAs can help provide for savings to pay for long-term care costs.
Depending on your current age, long-term care insurance may be an option. Long-term care insurance can cover much of the costs associated with assisted living and nursing home arrangements. However, the older you are the more expensive the monthly premiums will be for the insurance. Insurance may still be an option later in life, but it is an option that must be carefully considered in comparison to your overall financial situation and expected medical expenses.
The most common method for funding long-term care is through government assistance such as Medicaid. Medicaid is a program jointly run by the federal government and the state government to provide benefits to help cover the costs of personal care services such as in-home care, assisted living, and nursing homes, which are costs not normally covered under Medicare. Thus, Medicaid is a common method of providing for long-term care or supplementing the cost of such care as the costs of care have outpaced many individuals’ savings and long-term care insurance plans.
However, Medicaid is “means-tested” which means it is limited to individuals who are under a certain income and asset threshold. When evaluating an individual’s income and assets, Texas employs a five-year Medicaid look-back period. The five-year look-back period means that the State of Texas will review any transfers that have been made in the past five years through gift or selling below market value. Gifting or selling certain assets for less than market value within the prior five years of applying for Medicaid may render the Medicaid applicant ineligible for Medicaid. Due to the complexities of long-term care planning, each individual’s situation is different. As a result, you need an attorney who is experienced with all aspects of long-term care planning including trusts and estates, Social Security benefits, and other government assistance programs such as Medicaid.
Planning for Government Assistance
Recognizing that you will have a budgetary shortfall in long-term care planning is a realization that more and more Texans are having each day. However, with proper planning, this budgetary shortfall can be overcome. As a law firm focusing on all aspects of long-term term care planning and your estate, the Law Office of Carey Thompson, PC is uniquely situated to help you plan your future. We have experience with Texas’ specific Medicaid programs including the Star Plus Waiver, the Community First Choice Program, the Day Activity and Health Services Program, and the Primary Home Care Program. By planning ahead, we can protect your assets in a manner that maintains or maximizes your eligibility for Medicaid through a multitude of strategies including spousal income transfers, spousal asset transfers, qualified income trusts, and annuities.
Fort Worth Long-Term Care Planning Attorney
At the Law Office of Carey Thompson, PC, we work diligently to plan for your future and ensure that you and your family are taken care of. Whether you are worried that you can’t afford long-term care, or that you won’t qualify for Medicaid, we are here to help you. If you are planning for your future, please contact our offices today for a free consultation.