Are you ready for the financial implications that come with growing older? As the average American lifespan grows longer the cost of aging becomes more and more prohibitive.

A recent segment on NBC’s The Today Show takes a close look at long-term care and the price individuals and couples are required to pay as age related illnesses make it more and more difficult for senior citizens to live at home without care.

The show tells the story of “Roberta” and her husband, a couple married for 44 years, who felt there was no choice but to divorce after Roberta’s husband was diagnosed with dementia and the subsequent nursing home bills quickly depleted their assets. After paying no less than $75,000 in care costs, Roberta was advised by her attorney that one of the only ways to conserve her remaining assets for her own support would be to divorce her husband, allowing him to qualify for Medicaid coverage. As an Elder Law firm, we frankly wonder whether that was the only option for Roberta.  In California, at least, there may have been other options that might avoided  the tragedy of divorce.

With growing numbers of senior citizens being diagnosed with debilitating elderly illnesses, and the cost of nursing care on the rise, more and more couples are finding that without some kind of long term care insurance, or a Long Term Care Estate Plan,  they simply can’t afford the cost of aging. Medicaid (called “Medi-Cal” in California) can help, but planning is the key to avoiding the tragedy of Roberta and her husband.

Plan ahead for your own old age by talking to your advisors about Medi-Cal,  your options for long-term care insurance, and whether your existing estate plan should be re-designed.  Most have been designed with death in mind, rather than with extended long term care needs in mind.  Our firm has specially designed a Long Term Care Estate Plan for couples in just the situation above, and we have been able to help couples avoid the dreaded option of divorce. See the following links, one for healthy couples and one for a couple with an incapacitated spouse