How To Stop Long-Term Care Expenses From Tanking Your Estate Plan
If you can see two people from where you are right now, the chances are high that at least one of them has medical debt; approximately half of American adults have medical bills that they have not yet paid off in full. The only thing more disastrous to one’s finances than being unequipped to pay for medical treatment while you are of working age is to be unprepared for medical expenses when you are already retired. It is naïve to think that all you have to do is live long enough to be eligible for Medicare, and then all your healthcare will be free; it is nowhere near that simple. Medical debt affects people above the age of 65 as much as it affects everyone else, and the abusive tactics that debt collectors use can be downright scary, no matter how elderly or infirm the patient is. The best way to avoid this problem is to contact a Tampa estate planning attorney to ensure that your estate plan keeps you safe from medical debt.
The Worst-Case Scenario: Nursing Homes Suing Your Family to Collect Payment
If the recent report on the National Public Radio website does not scare you into reviewing your estate plan, then what will? The report includes stories of nursing home patients who ran out of money to pay their bills, so the nursing homes tried to collect payment from the siblings, children, and grandchildren of the patients. In some cases, they even sued the family members. Even worse, the family members most likely to be on the receiving end of debt collection lawsuits from nursing homes were the ones with paychecks that the nursing homes could ask the court to garnish after the court issued a money judgment. Worst of all, the family members did not sign on as responsible parties when it comes to payment; the nursing homes just looked for any family members who had recorded their contact information at the nursing home, such as when they helped the patient move in, and then sued the ones most likely to be able to pay. In some instances, the nursing homes even invoked the doctrine of fraudulent conveyance, alleging that the patient was hiding assets by titling them in the family member’s name.
How to Protect Yourself
In some states, you can protect yourself from medical collections during retirement by placing your assets in a trust, but Florida allows creditors to go after assets in self-settled trusts, such as revocable trusts. In Florida and elsewhere, your best protection against nursing home debts that can wreck your family’s finances is to buy long-term care insurance now, when you are still healthy and maybe even still working. Long-term care insurance covers nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and it may even cover in-home health services.
Contact David Toback With Questions About Planning for Your Medical Expenses
A Central Florida estate planning lawyer can help you find the right long-term care insurance and make other healthcare-related decisions that will save you money and stress in the long term. Contact David Toback in Tampa, Florida to set up a consultation.