Rick was named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law Elder Law, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future. Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care. Conveniently located off I-88 across from the Chicago Premium Outlet Mall. Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!
By Rick Law, Elder Care Attorney in West Suburban Aurora, IL.
As I demonstrated last time, the “Elder Care Journey” is something we all go on. We’re all on a path that will take us down one of two roads – a quick death, or a lingering decline that can be costly unless proper precautions are taken. It’s a continuum of potential care needs that get more intense as the journey progresses. Typically, the journey progresses as follows:
• Assisted living facility – A time comes when the senior is unable or unsafe to live at home without assistance throughout the day and night. At this time, even though the senior may not need medical or skilled nursing care, the family will need to consider an assisted living facility where the senior will still maintain a great deal of independence but will have access to care and assistance whenever needed. Here again, these costs are not covered by Medicare or regular health insurance policies. Payment for this type of care requires paying out-of-pocket or using long-term care insurance. (In Illinois, we do have “supportive living facilities” that take Medicaid, but you must meet the financial requirements and pass a screening that shows you require a certain level of care. All “assisted” living facilities are not “supportive” living facilities; and therefore, Medicaid is not an option in the traditional independent or assisted living facility.) With an average monthly cost of $3,000 to $6,000 and an average length of need of two and a half to three years, the annual cost for an assisted living facility is $36,000 to $72,000 per year. Here again, the potential to quickly deplete personal assets is high without some form of pre-planning for this need.
• The fragile senior at a nursing home resident – Once the senior’s health deteriorates to a certain level, they will have no choice but to enter a nursing home where they can receive around-the-clock skilled care. Skilled nursing facilities are equipped to handle most conditions, and many even have a special section for patients with Alzheimer’s disease. The average monthly cost of care in a skilled nursing home facility is $4,000 to $9,000, with an average length of stay two to five years. The only real option for payment coverage is private pay; Medicaid – but only if the senior is considered to be at the state’s poverty level,or a long-term care insurance policy.
• Death – When the senior has passed away, a whole host of other issues will come into play. This can include survivor care, if the senior was married and is leaving behind a spouse, as well as estate administration. Pre-planning in this area is also essential, as the senior’s estate could be subject to hefty estate taxes, and his/her heirs could end up with nothing to show for a lifetime of work and saving by the senior.
If you’re ready to start getting your estate in order and secure your assets for the “worst-case” scenario, please give our office a call at 800-310-3100. Your first consultation is absolutely free. We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family. Call now.
Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.