Today we are going to talk about planning for long term care.  As an estate planning attorney, I see many clients that have ignored the need for planning for the risk of long term care.  And if that is you, you are not alone. Too many individuals are avoiding long term care risk protection as part of their overall planning. As a result, families are faced with many dilemmas and decisions on how to finance long term care if and when a need arises. Here are ten excellent reasons to plan now, versus waiting for a crisis.

1. No age group is exempt from facing the risk of needing long term care. Waiting until you are 65 or older to think about long term care issues can be too late. As you age, the probability you will need care, either at home or in an nursing facility, increases.

2. Planning ahead provides peace of mind. It helps reduce fear and worry. It provides you with the security of knowing that your plans have been made and your wishes will more likely be followed.

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Why plan for long term care? In short, proactive planning provides peace of mind.

3. Proactive planning means more choices and options are available to you. The options and choices available to you tend to decrease with age and increased health risks. Planning early allows you time to research options and gather information about potential choices before making decisions.

4. Planning early allows you time to determine, clarify and prioritize your goals. The decisions you make about how to finance long term care should help you achieve your overall financial goals. Planning allows you to identify and share your financial goals with others and to seek their input, if you so choose.

5. Planning early can help reduce the potential for misunderstandings and conflict between family members. It allows you to discuss your plans with your spouse, your children, and others. It also allows you to discuss the potential role these people may have in your care and any limitations they may have.

6. Making plans early will reduce the emotional burden for those close to you. By making plans while you are mentally competent, you will be able to choose your own direction rather than forcing someone to else make hard choices for you that you might not have wanted.

7. It is easier to make plans when you are physically and mentally fit. As time passes, your health may deteriorate making it more difficult or even impossible for you to select your options.

8. Planning early will allow you to seek advice from professionals working on your behalf, such as your financial planner, your elder care attorney, your insurance agent, and your care coordinator. They can provide information to help you maximize your options.

9. Planning early may allow you to purchase long term care insurance before your health deteriorates making you ineligible. Waiting to purchase long term care insurance usually increases the premiums and also increases your chances of becoming uninsurable.

10. Planning early will help you protect your own financial security and that of your loved ones. Why put your financial security at risk due to long term care costs? It is impossible to predict when any one individual might experience the need for long term care.

Protecting against changes in health and independence during your lifetime is an essential part of estate planning and risk protection. Don’t jeopardize your independence and your family’s legacy by waiting until you can no longer make decisions.

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