A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. The same is true in estate planning. As estate planners, most practitioners focus on probate avoidance and tax planning. While these are important, more and more, the primary threat to a client’s estate plan is that their elder care expenses during the final three years of their life will wipe them out financially and completely negate their plans to leave a legacy to their children . The Wall Street Journal recently published an article about this topic which can be found at the following link.
The numbers cited in the article speak for themselves, and it is clear that Long Term Care Planning is the weakest link in the estate plan (assuming, of course, that there is a plan at all). Unfortunately, it has been my experience that this issue only becomes a concern at the precise moment that Long Term Care services are needed. Waiting this long can have disastrous consequences. For instance, those wishing to apply for state benefits will have to spend down the bulk of their assets and the equity in their home may become property of the state at their passing. All of this can possibly be avoided, however, if Long Term Care Insurance is acquired to pay for this contingency. Some companies are now offering products coupled with a life insurance component that will guarantee payment to the insured even if the Long Term Care Benefits are never utilized. When it comes to Long Term Care, an ounce of prevention is definitely worth a pound of cure and everyone should consider Long Term Care Insurance as another essential component in protecting their wealth.