Considering long-term care in estate planning

Georgia baby boomers are aging and may want to begin thinking about estate planning and long-term care if they have not done so already. Many people do not plan for long-term care, and the danger here is that their children will end up paying the price. This can become expensive. One insurer found that nationwide, the median monthly cost of a nursing home private room is $7,698 and the monthly cost of a home health aid is about $3,861.

These figures mean that an estate can be depleted in just a few years due to long-term care costs, so people may want to plan for this possibility. Alongside purchasing long-term care insurance or other actions to help mitigate these costs, they may also want to consider whether they want to use a will or trust to pass on assets to their loved ones. A trust keeps the estate from going through probate and can also place conditions on a beneficiary's receipt or use of assets. For example, it can tie distributions to a beneficiary's age or specify that the assets are for educational use.

One reason to specify how or when assets are used is that children may have different ideas from their parents about managing money. Studies show that more than 60 percent of people change financial advisers from the one their parents were using.

People may want to work with an attorney to create an estate plan to ensure that their documents are prepared correctly. An attorney may also be able to suggest strategies for various situations as well. For example, people might want to set up a special needs trust to care for a relative who is incapacitated or set up a trust that bypasses their children and gives assets directly to grandchildren.

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