A new book is being released entitled “The Adventures of a Free Lunch Junkie.” The author, an 86-year old retired man, wrote the interesting tome based on his goal of eating at 50 “free lunches” over the course of a year. Most of the lunches were obtained during seminars, explaining concepts like estate planning, elder law, financial planning and more. Local seniors obviously know how popular these events are for learning about issues that may affect your latter years. In fact, many clients at our firm first learned about our services after attending one of these seminars.
The author is quick to point out that the book is not an “expose” but a simple satire. It was recently summarized in a LifeHealthPro article.
The book is chalk-full of humor, often highlighting the good (and bad) of the specific meals he received. However, the author importantly notes that there was one free seminar he attended that hit home on the need to plan for senior healthcare. He notes that while he was attending many events as part of his book project, the lessons shared were not ignored. In particular, he was convinced of the immense value in having a long-term care insurance policy. The elder law attorneys at our firm often recommend LTCI as part of prudent senior planning.
The author summarized what convinced him, noting that “All you need to do is look around at all the people needing health care, and,with health care being so expensive, this one just made sense.”
His advice is logical, and many seniors (and their families) understand the need to plan for potential nursing home stays or at-home care aides. Far too many seniors have their life savings wiped out as a result of expensive care following disability. Unfortunately, the biggest stumbling block to preventing this may be finances.
LTCI is not cheap, particularly the older you are and the greater likelihood you might need long-term care in the future. One alternative is to seek out LTCI as early as possible. If it is too late for that, however, alternatives exist. For example, a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust can be created to shelter assets in the event that long-term care is needed and paid for by Medicaid. It is important to note that timing matters with these trusts, however, as a five-year look-back period applies. But even if care is needed immediately, and there is no time to wait five years, steps can still be taken to protect some (though not all) assets by transferring assets and paying for care during a penalty period.
The bottom line is two-fold: the earlier you plan for this care, the better. But, even if you need care immediately, steps can be taken to save assets if you visit with a professional for help.
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