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Helping You Navigate Complex Legal Issues

Reviewing the different types of long-term care

Gregory A. Lang

For many in Hennepin, the common school of thought is that estate planning begins and ends with determining who assets are dispersed to upon one’s death. However, another critical component to such planning is determining how he or she will be cared for prior to death. According to the website LongTermCare.gov, 70 percent of Americans over the age of 65 will require some form of extended care during their lifetimes. The estate planning component of such care is determining what form of it one will receive, and how it will be paid for.

The more popular forms of long-term care in the U.S. include:

  •          Nursing homes: These are facilities where residents may require consistent medical supervision in order to complete the activities of daily living.
  •          Assisted living center: These differ from nursing homes in that their residents typically require only support services and access to basic health care assistance.
  •          Continuing care retirement communities: Similar to a standard retirement community, these offer separate living spaces such as full apartments or condominiums, with shared access to skilled nursing services on-site.

Services such as home health care or community adult day care are designed to help provide the elderly or infirm with needed assistance while allowing them to remain living on their own or with family.

Each of the aforementioned services comes at a cost. Many may think that federal assistance programs such as Medicare will cover them. Yet Medicare’s policy regarding long-term care is that it only pays for hospital, hospice, or skilled nursing care, and certain aspects of home health care. Thus, one may want to consider allocating money to a trust to pay for any of the services mentioned earlier. He or she may also include instructions in the trust article that stipulate a preferred method of care. 

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