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Long-term care and how to pay for it

When Arizonans engage in estate planning, they often think about how best to protect their assets and ensure that their beneficiaries receive those assets upon the planner’s death. In a nutshell, this is the heart of estate planning. However, there are many other issues that can play an important role in estate planning. These matters, when left unaddressed, can leave an individual facing serious financial troubles, but also problems related to his or her own healthcare.

These problems often arise when an individual winds up needing long-term care. Sadly, about 10 million Americans need some sort of long-term care. While some of these individuals will be fortunate enough to have family and friends take care of them free of charge, most will require hired help in one form or another. A home health aide or visiting nurse may be able to provide in-home care and assist with caring for one’s self and his or her residence, but others require more extensive care provided by nursing homes.

A lot of individuals think that Medicare and Medicaid will pay for their long-term care needs, but this thinking is slightly misguided. While these government programs will help pay some of the costs, there are limitations. For example, Medicare will only cover a certain number of days in a nursing home, and Medicaid will only come into play if an individual’s income falls below a certain level.

With appropriate planning though, Arizonans can find a way to cover their long-term care costs, should the need arise. It may be an uncomfortable topic to discuss up front, but doing so can ensure one’s health and care, as well as the family’s finances. By speaking to an attorney who is experienced in elder law and estate planning may help one obtain the peace of mind they deserve.