Berman & Asbel, LLP

Planning for disability care expenses

Many families do not plan adequately for the care required for older individuals. When an aged adult acquires a disability that demands additional services, Medicare and other plans are often not sufficient to meet these needs. It may be important for Pennsylvania families to have an estate plan put in place to handle possible disability expenses.

Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia account for a large percentage of disabilities in older adults. According to a recent article, roughly 42 percent of families spent $20,000 per year of their own money caring for such an adult. About 33 percent spend $30,000 or more per year.

A large percentage of families are left providing this money without any assistance. In some cases, they use savings, their own health insurance and credit sources to pay for care. This has predicable negative effect on many families' finances. About 97 percent of families reported that their relationships suffered because of having to care for loved ones with disability expenses. About half say that their own health declined as well. Since most forms of dementia are slow progressing, permanent and non-life threatening, the care for such family members becomes a prolonged burden that can consume family resources for many years.

In order to prepare for and avoid such circumstances, estate plans should set aside money or assets to deal with expenses if they arise. There are many ways to tackle disability planning. This can involve creating trusts such as a special needs trust that will set aside the funds for the specific purpose of funding. An attorney who is familiar with family and estate planning could help create a solution that may protect family members from these unexpected costs.

Source: Alzheimers News Today, "Almost Half Of Alzheimer’s Family Caregivers Have $20,000 in Expenses Per Year", Isaura Santos, December 01, 2014

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