Who can you trust? Deb hears this question over and over again in her professional practice as an elder law attorney and a fee-only, holistic financial planner. Let Deb teach you how to protect yourself and your assets from those who might not have your best interests at heart. [Editor's note: Deb no longer contributes to Silver Planet, but we have made her archived blog entries available as a service to our readers.]
Buyers of long-term care insurance are often motivated by the expanded choice of care facilities that insurance provides. No longer are they limited to nursing homes and assisted living campuses that accept Medicaid. Don’t assume, however, that those facilities are somehow substandard or less than desirable. Do your homework and visit the homes in your area before you conclude anything.
But, by far, buyers’ biggest motivation for purchasing coverage is to ensure that their estate won’t be depleted for their heirs. If your primary aim is to pass on an inheritance, then buy coverage. If this isn’t one of your estate-planning goals, consider saving your premium money and forgo coverage.
If you need long-term care and have no insurance, you will pay out of pocket for as long as your resources allow, and then you will be eligible for Medicaid. You will not be left out on the street or otherwise abandoned. Insurance increases the odds that your resources will remain intact, ready for your heirs or beneficiaries to inherit upon your death.
Therefore, the decision you need to make is whether or not to spend money now to ensure benefits for family members or friends later. Keep in mind that these are the thoughts of a personal financial planner and elder law attorney who has seen too many of her clients financially victimized by “senior products” salesmen who excel in using scare tactics and false statistics to make a sale. Take a hard look again at the numbers in last week’s blog before you buy anything. If peace of mind and a conservative approach are paramount, then next week’s blog entry will give you some tips on what to buy.
By Deborah Hoskins, JD, CFP
The Wise and the Wary Blog