5 FINANCIAL QUALIFYING QUESTIONS when it comes to Assisted Living
Many seniors and their families are unprepared for the costs associated with senior care. The good news is that there are companies coming into the industry to help families fund private pay senior living.
1. Are you a Veteran or a Surviving Spouse of a Veteran?
Over 80% of Senior Living prospects are veterans or a surviving spouse of a veteran. They need to understand the Aid & Attendance benefit and their qualification status, so they can incorporate the benefit into their financial planning. There is no longer an $80,000 maximum asset limit, and Veterans and surviving spouses with assets above $100,000 regularly qualify. The benefit is not a “yes” or “no” qualification; it is an “if” and “when.” Communities must work with an expert and not a financial planner or elder law attorney who offers to “help” for “free” in order to access assets to sell financial products (usually annuities) or spend down assets for Medicaid qualification.
2. Do you have a Life Insurance Policy?
Seniors abandon millions of dollars of life insurance assets every year by surrendering their policies for pennies on the dollar or by non payment of premiums – because they do not know there are other options. Seniors have the option to sell their policies today to supplement the cost of home care, assisted living, or skilled nursing care. Cashing out the policy today will provide much more revenue to fund care than abandoning or surrendering the policy. Life insurance policies are assets that seniors own and have the right to sell. Once the policy is sold, the asset is held in an irrevocable trust that pays directly for care. The senior can determine how much of the asset is to be set aside for inheritance, and how much to allocate for care. There is no cost to either the senior living community, the family, or the resident.
3. Do you have a Long Term Care Insurance Policy?
We are seeing an increased number of long-term care insurance policies presented as payment vehicles for care. The problem is that after paying premiums for decades, insurance companies often issue denials when it comes time to activate the policy as reimbursements for care, and it is very confusing for families to try to work through the bureaucracy on their own. Typically, community teams try to make calls on behalf of the families which is time consuming and often unsuccessful. Very few people seem to know that there are professionals who specialize in advocating for seniors and can work through the insurance process to validate claims.
4. Do you know how to establish a realistic Budget?
Families need to feel comfortable with how much they can afford and how long the funds will last in funding the cost of care. The problem is often adult children who have become responsible for figuring out a funding strategy for their parents are often stumped about where to begin. Most are unaware that there are companies and consultants that help families with a cash flow analysis quickly and comprehensively. The two most common mistakes made by adult children is determining their affordability range and leaving out income and only taking into account assets.
5. Do you have a home to sell and do you need to sell it before moving into a community?
For many seniors who do not have other funding vehicles, their home becomes their financial resource. It is important to understand the plan and create a timeframe to rent or sell the asset and have resources available to support their goals. There are companies who will coordinate the sale of the home (including de-cluttering, cleaning, repairs, and staging), assist with downsizing (yard sales, donations, auctions, etc.), hire moving companies, and unpack/ settle in the resident into their new living situation. There are even companies that will purchase the home!
It is never comfortable to ask questions about money, but it is better to stretch your comfort zone than stay in the dark about all the options available to fund senior living.
Please reach out to Bel Aire Senior Living at 801.763.0622 to be introduced to any of these resources! You can also schedule a tour here.
If you have any financial questions or are seeking advice, please contact Utah Senior Planning and they will be able to assist you with your needs.
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