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Gathering And Assessing During The Holiday Season

(Previously published in the Ponte Vedra Recorder, Ponte Vedra – 12/17/15)

The holiday season is upon us and it is, for many, a time for families to get together and both celebrate the past year and plan for the coming one. In many instances, it is a time for children to assess their parents’ health status, both physical and mental, especially if they live in a different community than their parents. That inevitably raises the question of Long Term Care and whether a need for care has developed.

These are difficult conversations for families. Naturally older adults treasure their independence and don’t want to be restricted in their lifestyles. Yet, we all age and many – the statistics suggest 70% of those 80 and older – require some form of Long Term Care. The question is not whether care is needed but who will provide the care and how will the cost be covered.

The most common caregivers are family members – spouses, daughters or sisters are typically the ones who step in to carry the burden. While this is certainly a wonderful blessing to the one needing care, it often comes at a substantial cost to the caregiver. Loss of independence, physical and emotional stress and even job loss are common among caregivers. This can create real financial problems within the caregiver’s family as well as the family of the person receiving the care. Also, if ones career is interrupted by caring for a family member, it is often very difficult to restart that career after the care recipient dies or requires institutional care. While most people don’t want their situation to ruin the lives of their loved ones, this often happens when financial resources are such that other options are not feasible.

That is why I have long been an advocate for owning some form of Long Term Care Insurance. Keep in mind, not all Long Term Care Insurance is treated equal. LTCI as it is known in the insurance world, provides reimbursement for long term care costs incurred in a variety of settings from the home to an actual nursing home and everything in between. There are even hybrids on the market that in the event that the LTCI is never used, will transfer into a tax free death benefit life insurance policy. LTCI provides peace of mind that, if or when the need arises, you can continue to be in control of your situation rather than having to impose on others, it helps in maintaining ones independence. People often complain about the cost of LTCI; I realize it is not inexpensive but neither are long term care services. For example, one year in a nursing home can cost $100,000 or more. Also, if passing assets on to children and grandchildren is important to you, then consider owning LTCI as a means of protecting your assets for future generations. Make sure that you are well educated on the various types of LTCI available in today’s market.

So, as you gather with your family this holiday season, remember that the greatest gift you can give yourself and your family is independence throughout your lifetime without the necessity of changing others lives to care for you. You don’t just buy LTCI for yourself – you buy it for your family.

Frederic “Ric” Schilling is a Florida native, born in Jacksonville, Fl. Ric is President of Senior Guardians of America, a local North Florida firm specializing in tax reduction, long term illness planning, asset protection, probate avoidance and life income planning. Ric is a National Speaker and Advocate on Senior Issues and has been featured by the Florida Times Union and WJXT, TV-4 in Jacksonville as an authority on Estate Planning and Retirement Issues. Senior Guardians has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member in excellent standing with the National Ethics Association. Contact Frederic : 904-371-3302 or 888-891-3381 Please visit: www.seniorguardian.com

This article is not intended to give tax or legal advice. Securities offered through Center Street Securities, Inc.(CSS), a registered Broker-Dealer and Member of FINRA & SIPC.. Senior Guardians is independent of CSS.