The New Year is here and as the month of January gets underway, are you thinking about the resolutions you set? We know many of our friends and clients in Florida are focusing on how to begin to accomplish the resolutions they set. What are your resolutions? Did you focus on your work or on your health or on your family? Did reaching your estate planning goals or your long-term care goals make the list?

We want you to know that no matter what resolutions are on your list, one of the most important resolutions you can focus on this year is creating an estate plan and a long-term care plan. Both plans can reflect what you need right now, as well as what you will need in the future. It is unfortunate that less than half of all Americans have a current estate plan and even fewer have a long-term care plan. These statistics are of great concern as research tells us that over 70% of Americans over 65 years of age will have to have some form of long-term care during their lifetime. At this time the current cost for a semi-private room in a nursing home in Florida is over $8,500 per month. This amount only covers the cost of the room.

With long-term care at over $100,000 per year in out of pocket costs, you cannot afford to put off the planning you may need in the future. Many of our clients are surprised to learn that Medicare does not cover long-term nursing care. In fact, traditional Medicare only fully covers up to 20 days, and up to 100 days with a daily coinsurance payment of nursing care after a hospital stay. If you need long-term care, in a facility or in your own home, it can be extremely expensive. This is why it may be important for Florida seniors to have a long term care plan in place as soon as possible.

When consulting with our clients, most let us know that they have no desire to reside for the long-term in a skilled nursing home. We understand this desire. We also know that much of the care that is needed can be provided by skilled care providers in the home, as long as it can be paid for. Again, this is where the Medicare program falls short. In almost all circumstances, it does not pay for this form of care in the home.

• You may limit your options for being able to afford long-term care without a plan in place that you create with your experienced elder law attorney. The following statements could be the reality you may face without a long-term care plan in place:
• Rely on your own savings and spend them, which will cost you your legacy
• Lose your legacy to afford the ever rising cost of long-term care
• Try to buy long-term care insurance, although the premiums may be both expensive and unavailable if you wait too long or have an underlying health condition
• Rely on adult children, often called the “Sandwich Generation,” for financial support

Your experienced Florida elder law attorney can work with you to develop a long-term care plan that can assist you in accessing the much needed public benefits for this needed long-term care assistance.

Medicaid, unlike Medicare, is a qualification program to help you afford this type of care and not lose a lifetime of savings to meet long-term care needs. However, many people may not qualify because their income and assets are “too high”, so they wrongly assume they must pay for long-term care on their own. Now, it is true that when the money runs out, they can qualify for Medicaid coverage but it may not have to be this way. Your elder law attorney will help you navigate your questions and find the answers you need. In addition, if you have a family caregiver you can rely on, your elder law attorney can help you create a relationship together that allows you to get the services you need and provide financial compensation to the family caregiver as well. Your elder law attorney can create this relationship in such a way that does not penalize you for accessing needed future benefits.

What should you do? There are ways to qualify for Medicaid earlier, but it does require careful planning. At the Perlin Estate Planning & Probate our credentials enable us to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to our legal services. By building relationships with our clients, we are also able to understand each client’s needs and desires, and we support such goals through thoughtful, comprehensive planning techniques. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting.