Question: Why is the spouse who is in better health (the “healthy” spouse) at risk without long term care insurance?
Answer: If the unhealthy or disabled spouse has long term care needs and is uninsured they are still likely to have their care needs taken care of by the healthy spouse.
The individual will either be able to pay for that care or will spend down their assets and be able to qualify for Medicaid.
The more difficult question and what goes overlooked is the dilemma of the well spouse. The well spouse often has the task of caring for the disabled spouse. They can spend many years and the entire estate caring for the ill spouse. But after caring for the disabled spouse (in many cases for a long time), there is often very little in the way of assets at the end of the disabled spouse’s lifetime.
The risk of running out of assets is often a good reason for the healthy spouse to obtain long term care insurance. It may also be a good reason to have a life insurance policy in place (assuming it is affordable or is obtained while the spouse is insurable).
As always, if you have any questions or would like to learn more, please let me know.
ABOUT STEVE SHANE
Steve Shane provides strategic counseling to clients in need of estate administration, charitable giving and business continuity planning while minimizing estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax exposure. He offers legal guidance to clients on asset protection and the proper disposition of assets in accordance with the client’s objectives, while employing tax planning techniques such as the use of irrevocable trusts, life insurance planning, lifetime gifts and charitable trust. He is also experienced with drafting documents for business planning, the incorporation and application for exemption for Private Foundations and the administration of decedents’ estates.
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