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Long term care planning benefits families in Washington State

Getting older is inevitable, but even knowing this fact many Washington residents fail to adequately prepare for their futures and the futures of loved ones. As much as some people may prefer to ignore the health and financial issues that go along with aging, dealing with and having a plan for these problems can help people avoid difficult situations in the future.

When families lack the necessary funds to care for a loved one who requires end-of-life care, they are not only impacted economically, but emotionally as well. Only one in six Americans has insurance coverage for long-term care. By the time many individuals seek funds for long-term care, it is often too late and the lack of preparation puts them and their loved ones in financial turmoil. For example, one man entering the twilight of his career was suddenly burdened with custodial care expenses for both in-laws and his father.

However, there are some things that can be done to avoid problems that may occur later in life. For example, long term care insurance is an option particularly well suited for families with assets between half a million dollars and $3 million. This is the case because those with more assets can typically afford the costs of care upfront, while those who have less may qualify for government benefits.

Long-term care planning does not just refer to long term care insurance; it can provide guidance in case of an individual's incapacity or need for end-of-life care. For example, a living will, also called a health care directive or a directive to physicians, lays out an individual's wishes regarding the type of medical care he or she would prefer in the case that he or she is incapable of making important decisions due to serious illness or other incapacity. Through the use of living wills, individuals are able to direct future treatment regarding organ donation, use of feeding tubes and whether they would like medical providers to withhold treatment.

It is important for the sake individuals and their families to face the difficult reality of aging and to consider long-term care planning. Washington attorneys can help individuals understand their options and prepare for these parts of life that nobody wants to think about.

Source: KTVU.com, "Long-term custodial care a crisis for many families," John Fowler, June 11, 2014

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