Nursing Home Planning Attorneys Assisting Older Clients in Conway, Arkansas and Surrounding Areas
One of the questions that often comes up as we or our loved ones age is how will we pay for nursing home care when it becomes necessary? At nearly $8,000 per month average cost for a private room or $10,000 per month for a shared room in a U.S. nursing home (according to a 2021 Cost of Care Survey by Genworth), paying for nursing home care can very quickly diminish life savings. These costs continue to rise. In Arkansas, the monthly cost of a private room rose 15% between 2016 and 2020, and there is no end to increases in sight. Annual costs are projected in the Genworth study to go from approximately $92,000 in 2016 to approximately $142,000 in 2030. Careful planning, started long before nursing home care is needed, can protect your assets and give you ways to pay for long-term care that won’t leave your family destitute.
Call Dudeck Law Firm today at 501-327-3527 to discuss your options.
What if One Spouse Needs Care and One Still Lives at Home?
One of the most concerning scenarios when discussing how to pay for nursing home care is one in which one spouse’s nursing home care costs drain the couple’s life savings, cause the at-home spouse to sell the home and other assets, and leave the at-home spouse without the funds to live comfortably or get the care they may need. Fortunately, there are legal ways to divide the couple’s assets so that the at-home spouse is allowed to keep their half of the assets safe and available while the other spouse qualifies for Medicaid and has their nursing home costs covered. Often, this division of assets allows the at-home spouse to retain the family home, cars, furnishings, and other possessions while retaining half of the couple’s financial investments and savings. In this way, the at-home spouse may continue to live comfortably and plan for their own long-term care needs.
If, after the division of assets, the spouse needing nursing home care still has too much money to qualify for Medicaid, there are strategies available to spend down their assets in ways that are beneficial to loved ones to get them eligible. Whether this makes sense for you and your spouse depends on your individual circumstances.
What If We Don’t Qualify for Medicaid?
Medicaid is the single largest payer of nursing home bills in America and serves as the most common option for people who have no other way to afford their long-term care. It is available to those who meet certain income and asset limits and who are over age 65 or are disabled, blind, or on dialysis. Both states and the federal government administer this program, and eligibility requirements can vary slightly from state to state.
Applying for Medicaid is a lengthy and tedious process, and it is extremely disappointing to go through this complex process only to have the application denied. Fortunately, there are many legal and advisable ways to reduce the size of your estate that can help you to qualify for Medicaid to cover nursing home expenses. At Dudeck Law Firm, our skilled Conway estate planning attorneys can help with filling out and filing the Medicaid application once we have determined and implemented a plan to ensure that you have the greatest possible chance at eligibility.
Is Long-Term Care Insurance a Good Idea?
Purchasing long-term care insurance can be a great way to plan for the costs of nursing home care; however, the cost of this insurance goes up the older we get, and at a certain age, it is no longer available at all. Often, by the time a person starts to think seriously about long-term care, this insurance is too expensive to afford. Sometimes, too, if long-term care insurance is sought too late, the person may have medical conditions that render them ineligible. Long-term care insurance can be a helpful option for those planning early when they are still young and healthy. It can be a less practical option for older adults who are closer to needing the coverage it provides. If you do decide to purchase long-term care insurance, you should educate yourself on what your policy covers. If your policy has a high deductible or only covers short periods of care in a medical facility, you may still find that you need Medicaid to afford long-term care in a nursing home, as many with long-term care insurance do.
Do I Need a Nursing Home Planning Lawyer?
Trying to navigate the complicated landscape of elder law without education and experience in the field can be a frustrating and futile prospect. Unfortunately, too many people wait to think about nursing home planning until they or a loved one are in dire, immediate need of long-term care. Careful advance planning with the help of an experienced estate planning attorney can ensure that you or your loved one will get the necessary care without leaving your family in financial ruin. The time to think about these issues is now, not when someone needs immediate care. Here at the Dudeck Law Firm, we are dedicated to helping families maintain financial stability and peace of mind, even in the face of aging and illness. We have focused our practice on estate planning and elder care, and we have the skill and the knowledge to set up a strategic plan for long-term care that does not bankrupt your family or leave them without the funds they need to live comfortably. We know how to help you qualify for the help you need while still retaining your home and other assets that your spouse or family still needs.
Call Dudeck Law Firm today at 501-327-3527 to speak with one of our understanding and professional nursing home planning attorneys. We are here to help.