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Will long-term care costs affect everyone?

As we age, our planning needs change. While at one time we may have been concerned about planning for a family or retirement, at others we should force ourselves to confront estate planning and long-term care planning. When it comes to care planning, failing to take proper steps can leave loved ones facing exorbitant costs that can be difficult, if not impossible, to manage.

Just how unmanageable can it be? A recently released study from Genworth, a long term care insurer, shows that the costs of long-term care are increasing. Depending on the type of care needed and its intensity, average monthly costs can range from $1,000 to more than $8,000. To serve as an example of how costly this care can be, one man who lived to be 95 and didn't want to reside in a facility racked up $2 million in care expenses in just four years.

Sure, these numbers might be troubling, but most people will be able to avoid the need for long-term care, right? Wrong. The sobering fact of the matter is that 70 percent of us will need some form of long-term care, which means that we need to be prepared for the associated costs in the event that they need to be incurred.

So what can be done to prepare one for this potential reality? Simply put, he or she needs to develop a plan that ensures that medical costs will be covered in the event that they are incurred. While Medicare can help pay for some of these expenses, it likely won't cover everything. However, there may be other options available to an individual, including long-term care insurance and proper planning with regard to setting aside already accumulated assets.

This planning process can be difficult, though, emotionally, financially as well as legally, which is why it is often a good idea to have the assistance of a qualified legal professional when confronting these issues.

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