On those rare occasions when we are faced with the thought of our own mortality, the idea of dying slowly is uncomfortable. Often we see spry 90 year olds and hope to be them. We assume that when their time comes, it will be easily and in their sleep, just like we imagine it will be for ourselves. However, the somewhat grim reality is that many of us will face a multitude of ailments that snowball and force us into the need for more and more care. How long such ailments will last will determine how to pay for such care.
When chronic illness plagues us, there are a number of options to consider: in-home caretakers and skilled nursing facilities are among the most common. When death appears to be imminent (i.e. within the coming six months), we may choose hospice care to provide comfort. Although Medicare does cover hospice, it typically does not cover the other two. These two uncovered options are extremely expensive and can quickly erode your estate without proper planning. Given the likelihood that you will require these services, it is best to consider the available options now and let your preferences be known to your loved ones through your estate planning documents.
Your financial woes may be based on long-term care expenses.
Wartime veterans may apply for VA Aid & Attendance Non-Service Connected Disability Pension benefits. This benefit can provide over $24,000 per year toward the cost of care. Additionally, some VA facilities will subsidize the cost of skilled nursing care. Aid & Attendance is a means-tested program, meaning certain asset and income requirements must be met in order to qualify. By planning ahead before applying, it may be possible for you to achieve and maintain eligibility more easily through various means, including a QVap Trust.
For other individuals, Medi-Cal may be the best option to pay for long-term care. Also a mean tested program, an applicant must meet rigid asset requirements to qualify. Planning before applying is helpful for determining exempt assets and eligibility, but it must also deal with the look-back period that could cause deferral of your eligibility (currently 30 months in California but soon to be 5 years). For that reason, creating a QMap trust now may be your best option for obtaining eligibility when you need it.
People are living longer, which is generally seen as a good thing. However, for many people, the last months, or years of their life require so much care that their entire life’s work can disappear into the pockets of hospitals, physicians, and caregivers. By planning ahead, it is possible to preserve some of your assets for your heirs.
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