Long-term care costs could be home care costs, assisted living care costs, or nursing home costs. These can be substantial and can deplete a family’s savings in a very short period of time. In some cases, it’s necessary to shelter assets, so that the assets do not have to be spent on care. Sometimes assets can be protected from the cost of care depending on, among other factors, your assets, your family, your state, and your illness.

The first question to ask yourself is, “Do you want to protect your assets from the costs of long-term care and, if so, why?” If there is not an important reason to protect your assets for your children or other beneficiaries, then it makes sense to use those assets to stay at home, even if it depletes the estate.

There are reasons a person might want to pay privately for care. Perhaps the client desires a private room at the nursing home. Private rooms are often only available to those residents who privately pay for care. In some states assisted living facilities must be paid for privately. Quality of life is often better at an assisted living facility than a nursing home, and, therefore, clients who cannot manage at home may want to live in the assisted living. Many times, the government benefits available to pay for home care are not sufficient to keep a person at home. If the client wants to stay at home, then either the person’s family must supply care, or caregivers must be hired privately. 

Seek out an elder law attorney for help in protecting the family home and sometimes other assets from the cost of care so that the assets can be given to children or other heirs. It helps to do some research, start with our free guide for Caregivers. There are ways to protect the home and other assets from having to be sold to pay for care, but these methods can be complicated. Veteran's benefits, Medicaid, subsidized housing, long-term care insurance, and reverse mortgages; each of these topics can be used in the appropriate circumstance as a tool to protect assets from the cost of care. It is important to asses these programs to determine which are suitable in your situation.  

Free Caregiver’s Guide:

Solid legal and financial planning is critical for a loved one with long-term care needs. Download our free Caregiver’s Guide to learn the critical information you need to know about caring for your loved one.

Jackie Bedard
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Attorney, Author, and Founder of Carolina Family Estate Planning