Estate planning in California must often look at the question of long term care. This can be an expensive proposition and there are few options out there for financing long term care should it become necessary. One way to prepare for estate planning on the issue of long term care is to purchase long term care insurance to pay for home care and/or institutional needs when the time arises.
However, private insurance is an expensive item that some people simply cannot afford. If one starts early enough, the economic cost of long term care insurance may be kept at a minimum. In addition, there are numerous permeations of the basic coverage that may be more affordable. The key is to act early and get the facts from an insurance professional.
Medicare does not pay for long term care. Therefore, if insurance is not an option or it has not been purchased, Medicaid is the main source to cover long term care expenses. To prepare to be qualified to obtain Medicaid benefits if necessary, it is necessary to do some estate planning through an experienced estate planning attorney.
In California and elsewhere, to save one's home and other assets, they must be conveyed out to someone over five years from the date of applying for Medicaid. This again makes it necessary to engage in this kind of estate planning as soon as possible. Other possible solutions include special savings accounts and titling property in a manner that will take the property out of the person's ownership. Taking it easy and risking that no such services will be needed is universally discredited as a reasonable strategy. Statistics show that most people will need some form of long term care at some point so that avoiding the issue does survive scrutiny.
Source: paulsvalleydailydemocrat.com, "Long term care and estate planning", Dan Barney, Jan. 31, 2018