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Why you should discuss long-term care insurance with your family

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No one relishes the idea of taking time out from their holiday festivities to talk to their parents or siblings about what will happen when they die or become unable to care for themselves. However, this is often the only time when everyone is together to have these conversations in person.

These conversations should be done with sensitivity. However, the topics of wills, trusts, powers of attorney, healthcare directives and long-term care need to be addressed so that everyone's on the same page.

Find out how your parents plan to pay for assisted living or nursing home care if and when they need it. Too many seniors have given little, if any, thought to it. However, over 2 million people are expected to enter a nursing home or assisted living facility this year.

According to the Genworth 2014 Cost of Care Survey, here in California, in 2014, the median annual cost of an assisted living facility single-occupancy unit was $45,000 and that of a semi-private room in a nursing home was almost $87,000. These weren't even the most expensive in the nation. Medicare covers care in these facilities for a limited period of time, if at all. Needless to say, the costs can wipe out a person's savings (and their children's inheritance).

Long-term care insurance can help cover these costs. If your parents don't qualify for LTC insurance because of their age and/or health if or the cost has become prohibitive, it may not be an option for them You may need to help them find other options for paying for this care before they need it.

However, don't let that stop you from getting LTC insurance and encouraging your siblings to do so. Even if you think that you're too young to consider a time when you won't be able to care for yourself or make decisions, accidents and illness can happen to anyone at any age. Some baby boomers with parents in nursing homes or assisted living are getting to the age where they should be considering them as well. It can make things much easier on everyone if and when the time comes.

If you have any questions about a LTC insurance policy you're considering or that you or another family member already has, a disability attorney can help you decipher the fine print and work to ensure that you receive the benefits to which you're entitled.

Source: Savannah Morning News, "Holidays present best opportunities to discuss estate plans, long-term care insurance," Michael Smith and Richard Barid, Dec. 19, 2015

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